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Google Maps unearth a treasure trove for layman

Launches Atlas charting everything from United States Civil War to Biblical landmarks by night 

>> Collections can be seen on Google Earth and feature historic city plans, deforestation changes and battles
>> The project was set up to let organisations, publishers, governments and more make their maps available online
>> Each map is laid on top of Google maps and comes with description

London: There are centuries of stunning and informative maps locked away in books, magazines and cupboards gathering dust, which Google aims to change. The Californian firm launched its Maps Gallery, specifically designed to let governments, businesses, charities and other cartographers, map the history.

Quite historic: Various collections can be seen on Google Earth, including the above map of the American Civil War

Among the maps already featured, include a collection from National Geographic, satellite-based maps from Nasa, and maps from the World Bank Group and the US Geological Survey. They showcase changing landscape of Tokyo since the 17th century, how the battles of the American civil war were won and lost, a physical map of the Arctic Ocean floor and biblical landmarks of the Middle East.

Product Manager Jordan Breckenridge of Google Maps, who launched the service in blog post last week, said, “Governments, NGOs and businesses have some of the most valuable mapping data in the world, but it’s often locked away and unaccessible to the public. Our goal is to make this information easily available to others.”

How it works?

The gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas, where anyone can search for and find maps. All the maps included in the gallery can be seen on Google Earth and they cover topics such as locations of municipal construction projects, historic city plans, population statistics, deforestation changes and up-to-date emergency evacuation routes.

All this overlays Google Maps and each one features a brief description above a transparency slider that allows users to see exactly how the old map relates to the new.

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