My neighborhood went through dramatic changes while I grew up. I was 10 miles from Washington, DC. Changes are even more dramatic since I left, about 40 years ago.
I went to the US Geological Survey and collected every map I could find of my neighborhood from 1890 through 1994. I lined them all up and made it into a video. It could be better, but it’s interesting.
Here’s a PDF of the original map fragments in the animation.
I used GIMP and its GIF animation to do this. It could be better, but I decided to share my first try:
Three observations about this process:
- GIMP is the wrong automation tool, but I gave it a try. The flickering is annoying. I may try again and use a genuine animation tool.
- The USGS had lots of post-WWII maps, and a few pre-WWI maps. There was NOTHING for McLean, Lewinsville, or Spring Hill, between 1900 and 1945. Someone scanned part of a 1925 map to illustrate the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, but I couldn’t track down the original. The 1925 image here is pretty awful.
- The maps don’t exactly line up. I spent time adjusting and even warping bits of the maps to make roads fit that hadn’t especially moved. The few survey markers appearing in maps should still line up. The oldest maps were especially bad at lining up.
Anyone who has an idea of where I can find more maps, feel free to contact me.