Open Historical Map/Imagery

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OHM requires the use of imagery and maps that may or may not be available in geo referenced form. This section is a guide to using imagery sources. Actual imagery that may be available for use in OHM is on the Open Historical Map/Resources page.

Tile servers

Various online mapping sources can provide map tiles to software that is designed to use them. The JOSM and ID editors for OSM can use TMS and WMS format tiles; TMS and WMS are two very common ways of serving tiles. Each has its own kind of URL and the two are not interchangeable.

Adding Tile Service URLs in JOSM

JOSM has a list of pre selected imagery sources available, selectable from the Imagery drop down on the main menu bar. This dropdown can be customized.

Bring up the preferences tab. One of the selections on the left side (towards the bottom at this writing) is for imagery. If you select it, you will get a list of potentially available imagery in the top panel. The bottom panel lists imagery that is currently available in the Imagery dropdown on the main menu bar. On the bottom pane, there are some buttons on the side; the important ones are WMS and TMS. Select the one that matches the kind of service URL you have.


For TMS URLs, add the URL in the top panel of the menu. In the bottom panel, enter the name that should appear in the dropdown. You do not need to fill in the middle two panes at all. Click on OK and you are done.


need details on setup

JOSM Imagery Guide

For more information, see the JOSM Imagery Guide.

Adding Tile Service URLs in ID

(this needs to be fleshed out)

iD Editor - open the layers panel, click "Custom" and paste in a valid Tile URL template.

Map Warper

Mapwarper is a set of web tools that can be used to geo reference and then serve up imagery. Here is the GitHub Repository.

There are several interesting instance of mapwarper online.

Tim Waters, the author of mapwarper, operates [1]. Anyone can set up a login and start uploading maps and aerial imagery and then match coordinates up with the modern map. Once a satisfactory rectification is accomplished, a number of URLs may be found on the Export tab. The Google/OSM format URL works well as a TMS format URL in JOSM and ID.

The New York Public Library and Wiki maps also use Map Warper for their map collections.