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.
Contribute to the Space/Time Directory and explore library materials with these interactive tools built on historic maps, our vast photography collections, and more!
Kill time and make history with this game for transcribing place names, addresses, and building information from old maps.
An online tool for browsing and rectifying thousands of public domain maps, all free to use without restriction.
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.
Boundaries of thousands of maps from Map Warper, NYPL's tool for rectifying historical maps
Historical building footprints, addresses and building names from Building Inspector
Building footprints from William Perris' 1854 Maps of the City of New York, traced by NYPL librarians
Boundaries of Manhattan's administrative regions, from 1703 to 1895
Manhattan and Brooklyn street centerlines, traced from a 1854 fire insurance map by Mauricio Giraldo
Churches in New York City, 1790 to 1856 — from Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City by Kyle Roberts
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:
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.
|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|
Take a peek into the Space/Time Directory workshop! We're sharing prototypes, proof of concepts, and visualizations the project as they're made.
Peel away layers of the city's history with this visualization layering maps from 1660 through 2014.
Take a tour of the Fifth Avenue, past and present! Compare the photos of Fifth Avenue in 1911 and today.
In the age of segregation, the Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, bars, and gas stations where Black travelers were welcomed. Map out trips you would take with this tool.
Browse related Library resources including digitized materials, data sets, APIs, and much more!
NYPL's database of digitized collections with new items being added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.
An experiment to help patrons understand and explore what is contained in the NYPL Public Domain release. Browse by century, genre, collection, or color.
The Community Oral History Project documents, preserves, and celebrates the history of NYC's unique neighborhoods with stories from people who have experienced it firsthand.
An experimental interface of biographical data describing photographers, studios, manufacturers, and others involved in the production of photographic images.
Over 10,000 transcribed records from the historic mortgage and bond ledgers of the Emigrant Savings Bank. Browse and download the records, or pitch in on verifying the transcriptions!
Create and share 3D images from the stereograph collections of The New York Public Library (and others). You can even use your own Flickr photos.
Search and explore the dishes and locations of 17,545 historic menus from New York City and beyond.