Maps are an invaluable genealogical resource as they give context and location to records you are seeking. What can be especially difficult is researching an area that has changed boundaries and ownership over time, leaving you to coordinate older maps with modern maps. How do you make a military survey work with a modern street map? Where is the property on the cadastral map located today? How do I ensure the scale between the maps is correct? A solution lies in the incredible technology behind Mapire.eu that uses historical maps of the Habsburg empire in collaboration with Google Maps, Google Earth, and OpenStreetMap.
Several institutions from Austria, Hungary, and Croatia have combined their resources to allow users to see historical maps that overlay current locations in scale, zoom in and out for detail, rotate for better perspective, and even see maps in 3D. Mapire doesn’t display only a few maps, they display ALL of the maps created for the three military surveys covering the Habsburg empire. The site also contains maps of major European cities such as Paris, London, Rome, Moscow, and Sarajevo.
One of the most useful features on the site is the ability to compare maps side by side. You can do this between historical maps or compare a historical map with a current street view. I brought up a map of Budapest, clicked on the ‘Options’ box in the upper right corner and chose ‘Synchronized View.’ On the left side is an 1872 historical map of Budapest and on the right is the current aerial view of location, which you can see by clicking on the ‘Maps’ box, selecting ‘Aerial’ and sliding the ‘Historical Layers’ to 0%. As I navigate one map, the other map will move and scale accordingly. At any point you can change the maps on both sides to contrast and compare.
Also on the site are publications about the site and mission of Mapire as well as links to sponsoring organizations. You can change the language of the site between German, Hungarian, and English and there is an option to purchase maps you have found on the site. If you are interested in using historical maps in your genealogical research in the Habsburg Empire, Mapire.eu is an essential tool.