David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

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"Graeciae Antiquae Tabula Nova" from 1708

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is one of the world's largest private map collections. It has over 150,000 maps and cartographic items. The collection was created by David Rumsey who, after making his fortune in real estate, focused initially on collecting 18th- and 19th century maps of North and South America, as this era "saw the rise of modern cartography."[1]

More recently, Rumsey has expanded the collection to include maps from the 16th though 21st centuries, and covering the entire world.

There are now over 82,000 digitized maps available through his website, http://www.davidrumsey.com, about 1000 of which are currently being hosted through Google Earth layers. Select maps are also featured at the Rumsey Maps island in Second Life. as well as 2D and 3D GIS. A new MapRank search tool has been added enabling geographical searching of about 60,000 maps from the collection by map location and coverage. In addition, a Georeferencer tool has been added that allows site users to georeferenced and display any of the maps in the collection. The website has additional viewers from Luna Imaging, Inc, most popular being the LUNA browser which doesn’t require any special plug-ins or software to view the collection, zoom into image detail, create slide shows, media groups, presentations and more.

The website also has a blog listing new additions to the collection, featured maps, news, videos, and related sites.

In February 2009, David Rumsey announced that the entire collection would be donated to Stanford University, including 150,000 maps and their digital images, as well as the database used to track the images.[2] Stanford houses the collection in the new David Rumsey Map Center which opened in the main library in 2016. The davidrumsey.com web site (where the images are posted on-line) will continue as a separate public resource.


  1. ^ Ganahl, Jane (27 September 2004). "David Rumsey made a living in real estate. Then he charted his future to match his passion: maps". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ "Maps of Americas past". Stanford News Service. Stanford University. 4 February 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 

External links[edit]

Media related to David Rumsey Historical Map Collection at Wikimedia Commons