Why do we charge for Premium Content?

We often get asked why we charge for copies of our maps when so much on the Internet is free. The short answer is that collecting, scanning, and hosting the world's largest collection of historical maps is expensive.

It is worth noting that while we charge for downloads and prints, we do not charge for browsing and viewing the maps. Judging from the daily feedback we receive, this free service is widely used and greatly appreciated.

Our usage data demonstrates that the vast majority of people using our site for research do so without any type of payment. Compared to the time and costs associated with getting in your car and driving to the closest institution holding a copy of the property atlas you wish to consult, being able to view that same atlas for free from the comfort of home, has to be one of the best deals on the Internet.

Users wishing to purchase a digital download or a printed copy of a map to hang on their wall are able to do so with a few clicks of a mouse. Those who do not need such records, incur no charge.

Since 2006, we have invested $4.5 million dollars to build the infrastructure and acquire the content that you see on the site today, but the collection is by no means complete. The money charged for downloads, prints and subscriptions allows us scan and upload and average of 500 new maps a week.

This continuous and ongoing pursuit of more historical mapping content for our users is the reason this website contains 1,662,928 images or to put it another way, 10 times the number of maps and map related images as the next 10 historical mapping sites in the world - combined.

Along with offering our users access to 2,100 property atlases from Historic Map Work's own private collection, the website has licensed an additional 24,000 atlases and hundreds of thousands of copyrighted maps from current publishers such as Rockford Map Company, Farm and Home Publishers, Directory Service, Inc., Title Atlas Company, Metsker Maps, R.C. Booth and research institutions such as: the Osher Map Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, the University of Florida as well as numerous private collections and a handful of public domain collections.

Many of our content partners' maps are copyrighted and many would not exist in digital form or be viewable by the public unless we paid these institutions to allow us to make them available on our website. Every time one of our users views one of our partners' maps, we pay a royalty. Considering we don't charge our users to view the maps, this can be an expensive proposition, but one which we undertake gladly in order to give our users access to otherwise unavailable content.

We sincerely hope you appreciate being able to view and consult history's greatest cartographic treasures from the convenience of your home. As mentioned previously, we do not charge to view the map, but if you wish to obtain a download or reproduction, please know that your purchase is going towards acquiring additional materials and further developing the research aspects of the website.

Membership Benefits & Pricing