Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Australian Maps Online

The range of maps in the collection of the National Library of Australia now numbers more than 600,000. This includes more than 100,000 post-1900 Australian maps and a significant collection of pre-1900 Australian maps. These are supplemented by more than 500,000 aerial photos. Much of all this is in the NLA's online catalogue, but the rest is only accessible by consulting the Library map staff.

To check what's available in an area of interest, go to www.nla.gov.au/map/ and enter an appropriate search criterion in the form provided. For instance, a search for "Eltham" gives a list of twelve hits, dating from the 1901 to 2001. One of those listed shows a thumbnail of the map, indicating that it can be viewed online. There are in fact over 6000 maps online. The earliest one focussed on Australia appears to be one of Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, by Captain John Hunter. It shows the
position of the encampments and buildings as they stood in March 1788, and
the positions the transports were moored on their arrival.

The maps are best viewed with the interactive viewer that can be downloaded from the NLA site.

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