NYC Space/Time Directory

Let's build the future of New York City's past

with support from

The New York Public Library is creating a digital time-travel service for New York City with historical maps, collections rich in geospatial data, and the public's help.

The NYC Space/Time Directory will make urban history accessible through a set of resources including: a searchable atlas of New York past, an historical location directory and geocoder, a set of APIs and data sets, and a discovery tool linking NYPL collections together in an historical and geographic context.

These explorations will provide a way for scholars, students, enthusiasts, and librarians to explore New York City across time periods and to add their own knowledge and expertise.

With the NYC Space/Time Directory we're developing a programming model and freely accessible codebase for other cities, libraries, and individuals to map and explore history. Data sources are listed in our related resources section below and those interested in working with our open source projects can visit GitHub to get started!

Ready to travel through time and space? Explore our Space/Time resources below to start discovering and contributing to New York City history.

Projects

Contribute to the Space/Time Directory and explore library materials with these interactive tools built on historic maps, our vast photography collections, and more!

Data

The table below lists datasets used in the NYC Space/Time Directory. The data files are in the NDJSON format (one JSON object per line) — for more information about the Space/Time data model, see GitHub.

See the spacetime-data repository on GitHub for examples on how to use Space/Time data.

Dataset Data License
mapwarper C
Boundaries of thousands of maps from Map Warper, NYPL's tool for rectifying historical maps
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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building-inspector C
Historical building footprints, addresses and building names from Building Inspector
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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perris-atlas-footprints
Building footprints from William Perris' 1854 Maps of the City of New York, traced by NYPL librarians
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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nyc-wards
Boundaries of Manhattan's administrative regions, from 1703 to 1895
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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nyc-streets
Manhattan and Brooklyn streets, traced from New York City insurance atlases
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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enumeration-districts D
1900 census enumeration districts for Manhattan and the Bronx, traced from maps created by Barbara Hillman
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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building-inspector-nyc-streets D
Building Inspector addresses combined with data from the nyc-streets dataset — for more information, see bertspaan.nl/west-village
ZIP GeoJSON CC0
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oldnyc
Contains the location of 39516 photos from Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s collection, taken from Dan Vanderkam's OldNYC
ZIP GeoJSON CC BY-NC
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nyc-churches
Churches in New York City, 1790 to 1856 — from Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City by Kyle Roberts
ZIP GeoJSON CC BY-NC
View details

Dataset types

Draft

Draft datasets are currently being worked on; they are not finished, and things like field names might change.

Crowdsourced

Crowdsourced datasets are not static, new objects are added as new crowdsourced submissions come in.

Meetups

Historical Data & Maps at NYPL is a series of public workshops and talks which will highlight different parts of New York City's history using data and maps from the NYC Space/Time Directory. In this series, we will focus on making new maps with old data using open source mapping tools, and learning how to use the Library's open data sets and APIs to tell stories about New York City’s history by finding and combining materials from the NYPL’s Digital Collections.

Past and upcoming events:

Title Date

Code

The table below lists open source repositories made for the NYC Space/Time Directory that might be useful in other projects, too. More repositories can be found on Space/Time's GitHub page.

Repository Description
Simple JSON API for small crowdsourcing apps used in different NYC Space/Time Directory projects
Leaflet plugin for photo geotagging
Extract/Transform/Load tool for Space/Time data
Command line tools for NYC Space/Time Directory data

Tools & Experiments

Take a peek into the Space/Time Directory workshop! We're sharing prototypes, proof of concepts, and visualizations the project as they're made.

Related resources

Browse related Library resources including digitized materials, data sets, APIs, and much more!