The NYPL Map Warper: A Brief Topic and Image Analysis

Authored by Rachel Lipkin


Image Information
LCSH: 1XX – Map and guide
Curator: Hopkins, G. M
Date: 1873

Summary of Image

G.M Hopkins curated this image in 1873 as a collection to his layer and atlas of New Jersey and most specifically the counties of Essex, Hudson, and Union.  This map describes the property lines, the cities and towns within the area. Particularly, this map showed the general landscape of the entire area, and within the layer provided by the New York Public Library, there were roughly three other maps that depicted the Hoboken and Weehawken area, train lines, ferry stops, and coast lines.  The resources that are related to this object consist of maps, such as this one, that depict the land of New Jersey in the late 1800’s. The entire atlas, and its parts, was so fragile and delicate that throughout our project it would have been excellent to see them in physical form, but unfortunately we were not allowed to view it.


Our mission was to use the interface and program, Map Warper, to do what many of the public does; georectify the historical map images into real-time location programs. Emily and I realized that after a few mere hours of working on the program that we had delved much deeper into how public libraries and new technology merge. Realizing that simply tracing our maps wasn’t going to be the only task at hand. After much time with the program, the library, and the staff, we came across many flaws and technical issues. This led us to believe that perhaps the New York Public Library wasn’t the only library that attempted to promote the use of a public program, and ultimately a program that could better connect patrons with their libraries and librarians. Unfortunately, flaws in programs, apps, and websites do anything but promote patrons to use the site. The resources we used for our AS-L group poster presentation were that of literary reviews that gave proof to our insight about public website programs and public libraries, and our own experiences with the Map Warper and the atlases that we worked primarily with. By using both academic research, and critical thinking, we were able to give educated suggestions and detailed discernments on how to better use the Map Warper.

1. The New York Public Library, “Atlas of New Jersey : Counties of Essex, Union, and Hudson. from Combined atlas of the State of New Jersey and the County of Hudson : from actual survey, official records & private plans / by and under the direction of G. M. Hopkins,” NYPL Map Warper (blog), March 28, 2014 (8:18am),