In Maps as a Resource: New Zealand’s “Maps Past”, Part One and Part Two, I demonstrate ways in which the “Maps Past” website provides maps of interest to researchers. The following is a step-by-step introduction to using the website for those who might find it useful.
Step One: Go to http://www.mapspast.org.nz. The following (or something similar) is likely to open as the home page:
The next two steps are aimed at getting rid of unnecessary material from the screen before zeroing in on a location of interest.
Step Two: Get rid of the “Select basemap” pop-up menus by clicking on the “x” on it (circled in black on the image below):
Step Three: Remove the text material from the lefthand side of the page by clicking on “Mapvv” (partly circled in black in the image below) which is on the righthand margin at the top:
This then should leave you with a map of New Zealand and seven icons at the left top of the page:
The seven icons are:
From left to right:
White plus and minus signs on blue background = Zoom in/Zoom out.
Three layers icon = “Select basemap” = Brings up list of 14 options, most of them decades.
Cog icon = “Map options, Coordinate format” = Brings up list of 11 options.
White i in blue circle = “Show mapsheet details for current series when you click on the map”.
Clipboard list with white i in blue circle on bottom right corner = “List all available mapsheets at point you click on the map”.
Magnifying glass with three arrows = “Zoom to extent of current mapsheet/series”.
Two chain links = “Show URL of currently displayed map”.
Below I will discuss the use of four of these icons – the first, second, fourth and fifth. I have found that I can achieve what I want through using these four.
Step Four: Use the “Zoom in” icon (white plus sign on blue background at top left of screen) to zoom in to the location you want to examine. You are likely to also need to move the map to bring your intended location to the centre of the screen – move the cursor to somewhere on the screen, click and hold, then move the cursor – this will move the map. I have chosen to zoom in on Riverton at the bottom of the South Island (see below). At the bottom right hand of the screen are some figures, the scale of the map on screen, the map sheet or series, and co-ordinates of the cursor. In this case, for example, there is “Scale = 1 : 27K” (27K = 27000) and “NZTM2000” map series. This information may or may not ever be of use to you.
Step Five: Once you have zoomed in to the location you want, at the scale or level of detail you want, you can then click on the “Select basemap” icon (three layers icon) at the top left to choose which map you want to see.
I decided to try to find the earliest map. I clicked on the fourth last map “NZMS13 1899”. The list then disappeared and the screen went blank. This means such a map does not exist. I clicked again on the “Select basemap” icon to bring the list of maps up again, and clicked on “NZMS13 1909”. Same blank result. When I next clicked on “NZMS13 1919”, the following map came up:
The 1929 map was the same. The 1949 map was not at a good level of detail:
But the 1959 map was a good one:
And we could go on, choosing more recent maps or the air photo…
Step Six: Finding out what maps are available for the location. To do this, you click on the icon of a clipboard list with white i in blue circle on bottom right corner – this is to “List all available mapsheets at point you click on the map”. This icon turns green when you click on it. You then click on a point on the map and a popup list appears which you can scroll down. This lists all maps that have been published or are available for this location.
The earliest map listed for Riverton is Series: NZMS13 Sheet: SD58, Printed: 1910. This will be why no map came up earlier for 1909 but one came up for 1919 when I was using the “Select basemap” icon.
Step Seven: Finding out which map you are viewing. When a map is on the screen, you can use the icon of the white i in blue circle = “Show mapsheet details for current series when you click on the map”.
This icon also turns green when you click on it. You then click on a point on the map and a popup list appears which identifies the map that is being shown. In the case above, the 1910 map is identified even though the map came onto the screen originally when I was using the “Select basemap” icon and had chosen “NZMS13 1919” from its menu list. In other words, the decade menu list that appears when you click the “Select basemap” icon does not mean that the map that comes up was published the year shown (1919 in this case) but it may have been earlier (1910 in this case).
It was the use of these steps that helped me obtain the material discussed in the Posts Maps as a Resource: New Zealand’s “Maps Past”, Part One and Part Two, and which has proved useful in my local history and family research.