NLS Historic Maps API

I found Emily Bennett’s excellent tutorials on the Google maps API and her Portsmouth History site and decided I had to try doing something similar. So I went to the National Libraries of Scotland (NLS) website to get some old maps to create tiles from and discovered that they’d already done the hard work for me by creating the NLS Historic Maps API. I love cycling around Edinburgh on the abandoned railways that are now bike paths and I often try to imagine what it was like when trains used them. So this API is like a dream come true!

Below is my first attempt at creating a mash up. It’s nowhere near as polished as the Portsmouth History site, but I learned a great deal and had fun making it.

Open Data

NLS’s primary intention behind creating the historic maps API is to promote the use of historical maps in online mashups. I think this is a great idea and I hope they continue to develop it.

Disappointingly I wasn’t able to find many historic images of Edinburgh that allowed me to re-use them. Hopefully one day all these old photos will become open data too! In the meantime I found Britain from Above had some nice images and more importantly they allow re-use of them (subject to T&Cs).