Old Maps Online is a website that showcases historical maps from around the world. The site features a prominent modern-day Google base map, which you can zoom in and out of and navigate along its length and breadth and search for places; Nothing special about that. Where Old Maps Online gets its name from is the sidebar that shows relevant scans of old maps of the area that you just zoomed in to. Most of these old maps are in pretty good state and are available for viewing as a zoomable flash file or as a high-resolution, downloadable image for printing.
The above image shows a map of the “Island of Bombay” from around 1932 – 33 when India was still under the rule of the British Raj. I dare say, one would be hard pressed to find a paper map as old as this and in such a good condition in any of the government institutions in India.
The importance of preserving and digitizing historical maps cannot be stressed enough. Such maps give you an insight into the state of the earth and of the nature and styles of cartography prevalent at the time. Imagine if all the maps in the world through history are digitized and a cumulative timeline of the world through maps is shown. The result would be breathtaking!