Kelly Faircloth of BetaBeat reports, “Ever stood on a street corner wondering what your neighborhood looked like a century ago? If yes, a) you are a nerd and b) the New York Public Library is working on it. Thanks to a 2010 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the NYPL has embarked on a big effort to digitize its collection of historical maps. And for the history-crazed among us, they’ve just posted a lengthy, detailed description of how that project works.”

Faircloth continues, “You might assume that digitizing a map collection is as simple as scanning the paper versions and slapping them on the open web. Not the case. In order to be useful, the maps must be ‘georectified,’ or aligned with their modern virtual equivalents. (If that sounds interesting, good news: The NYPL is crowdsourcing that part of the project, which means you are more than welcome to pitch in.) The result is something that looks like this 1909 map of Queens, which has been lined up nicely with the modern grid in case you’d maybe like to look up your apartment like we just did.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Bob Owen