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Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:57 pm
by Koakai
I know that at times it can be difficult to find maps of cities for use in games. Even more so if you want them to be period in looks. There is one place you can look for excellent maps however. Check and see if you can find out if there is an available fire insurance map drawn for the area you are interested in. In the days before mass travel, insurance maps were the best way for an insurer to assess the risks of giving out a policy. Roads, structures and their uses are noted as well as major fire risks. The biggest company to draw them was the Sanborn fire insurance company.

While it can be hard to find a specific map for free, check with your local library or archives/historical society to see if they have some available. They can be a great resource.
Here are a few places online by one university.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:24 am
by Dr. Gerard
Brilliant resource. Journos use these all the time to look for potential buried health hazards, like day care centers on old dry cleaning lots.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:16 pm
by Howard
I love maps. I would go so far as to say most gamers love maps. When I run games, besides a map for myself, I always provide a map for the players. I can't get enough city maps. For fantasy gaming, I don't play PF but they got some awesome looking stuff. I've purchased box sets of alternate systems just for the maps in some cases. I played a bunch of GangBusters and your map links would have been perfect.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:15 pm
by PirateLawyer
I for one think this would be a good topic for an episode or stickied post with links to useful resources. As a Keeper I struggle to find map resources that I can readily convert for use in my games. Where can I go to find, say, a map of a deserted oil rig? An abandoned missile silo? A 1960s apartment block? etc.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:36 am
by Keeper Dan
Not a bad idea at all. It'll have to be a few episodes down the line, because we'd have to take time to collect as many good links as we can. I do really like the idea though.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:22 pm
by Koakai
Your best resource for stuff like an oil rig is a strange one. Try google sketchup's 3D warehouse. A lot of guys have a lot of time on their hands and do great 3D renders of things like that. A quick look has me looking at a very nice model of an oil rig that can either be used to sketch one for yourself based off it, or exported as a 2d graphic. There also is a decent sketch of an atlas missle silo. At least for placement purposes.

Get the right angle and you have top views, side views, and can strip down or add whatever you want. The warehouse is a lovely spot for all sorts of things.

Re: Maps, mapping and you

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:54 pm
by Logar
I stuck a link for a Boston map for 1921 (a nice one, useful) in the Freshman Orientation section. It has about 600 maps of the Boston area from the 1600s up. A map lover's dream. I didn't realize this section was here and I put a couple links there. I thought this area was specifically for History/news stories and the like. Sorry guys.
It's listed under the posting of Boston Map 1921. But I'll copy the posting here as well.

---"Not sure where this would go so I put it here. Feel free to move it to wherever would be most appropriate.

Sick of trying to find a map of Boston from the 1920s? Scouring google, forums, etc.. Tired of that same old crap 18xx map that shows up all the time? If so, then my spasmodic research is your gain.
Here is a link to a flat out street map of Boston 1921 among others (courtesy of the BPL - Boston Public Library). This link has maps from Boston & vicinity from the 1600s up. Everything from the city planning board to the water and sewage board to private publishers. Almost 600 maps in all. All in one easy place. Sortable by date, location, publisher, etc.. Hope everyone can enjoy.
BTW, you can download them in full size or buy them if you wish. (Haven't tried doing this so I can't vouch for it.)"

(The 1921 map is on this page along with some others of the same time frame) ... -7?page=58

(Link for 1921 map - Sampson, Murdoch &Co. map)

(A rather nice generalized 1917 map if you just need an overall view of major streets and some locations - Bookshop for Boys and Girls map)