Historic Data

View Examples of Historic Geospatial Data

Locating reliable sources of historic geospatial data can be challenging, so let us help you with the process. Our expertise allows us to quickly identify both imagery and vector datasets from a collection of library databases, public files and proprietary maps that others typically miss or ignore, including:

  • Aerial imagery dating back to the early 1900s,
  • Topographic contour maps dating back to as early as 1760,
  • Written accounts of engineering studies from the earliest days of the United States, Europe and the Colonies with maps, plans and locations to accompany them and
  • Historic hydrographic data including waterways, wetlands and coastlines from the 17th Century forward and coastal charts starting in 1818.

Locating Historical Geospatial Datasets

During the last decade of the 21st Century, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) departments have sprung up in Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and even the smallest of environmental and engineering firms. Geospatial data is now invaluable to all stages of project planning, implementation and final evaluation.

Will Google Earth and Google Maps help?

Google Earth and Google Maps have made locating recent imagery an easy task, but locating historic data from the 20th Century and earlier requires more knowledge. Aerial photography was adopted after World War I and is still used today, but institutional holdings are often uncatalogued and poorly organized, especially for earlier decades. Even the first sub-meter satellite was not launched until late 1999. Often historic data must be derived from lower-resolution or completely alternate sources.

GIS collections

While free GIS collections can be found on the Internet, it takes experience to be able to find them quickly and there is an increasing number that are much harder to access.  Resources in libraries, government agencies and private collections are often catalogued in ways that make their existence obscure – if they are cataloged at all.

Map data

Historic map data is even more scattered, with some collections scanned and available on the Internet, and others held in public and private collections.  The Apollo Mapping team has the expertise to know whether such resources exist for a location, where to find them and how to reconstruct the historic landscape and identify lost features such as factories, roads, waterways or other human impacts.

By combining geospatial information garnered from a wide variety of sources, it is often possible to answer your geospatial questions even when detailed imagery might not exist.