Arphax publishes books of land-ownership maps for US counties—500 to date. Now the company is building an online service that will let you search and view maps; create a map collection; create animated, personalized maps; and network with other members.
Subscribers will get access to 2,000 “big-picture” maps (state- or county-wide), then can search the library of about 40,000 “premium” maps (a number that will grow) by surname or place to add to their own map collection.
You’ll be able to create animations of family migrations and other geographic events; attach custom map markers, your own images and links to other web pages; and collaborate with other researchers.
This is what the map viewer looks like:
It lets you zoom in and out, navigate to your ancestors’ county, add markers, take snapshots of a place, search for maps related to places your ancestors moved, and view migrations. You can make your map markers private, public, or viewable by select others.
The HistoryGeo.com site suggests this application for the custom animated maps: “Watch an animation of both your mother’s and father’s families as they cross our country, with paths intersecting where you were born.” You could take this further back in time to “watch” when your great-grandparents’ lives intersected, getting research clues such as where to look for marriage or land records
The service is still being set up, so a limited number of charter membership subscriptions are available ($42 for six months and 500 premium maps for your personal collection; $54 for six months and 1,000 premium maps). You also can register as a basic user to get a feel for the site. Once you register, click Launch Map Viewer to get started.