frequently asked questions



  • Who can view the collection? Is it free? What is the copyright situation?
    • The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is a free resource available to all. Learn more about the collection, the technology used, and Cartography Associates by viewing our About page. Please read and observe the Copyright restrictions. 

  • Do you have other collections available?
    • YES! The following collections are also available through Cartography Associates in the Insight software:

      • Japanese Historical Maps contains over 1,200 rare maps and books from the University of California's East Asian Library. Most noteworthy in the collection are a range of Japanese city maps which date back 300 years. The online collection will continue to grow in the coming years until it reaches roughly 2,300 items.
      • The Farber Gravestone collection contains over 13,500 photographic images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800.
      • The AMICA Library documents over 108,000 different works of art, from prehistoric goddess figures to contemporary installations.

      You can also visit LUNA Commons is a new source for finding valuable, educational content from digital collections built in the Insight Software from Luna Imaging, Inc. and presented in Insight's dynamic new LUNA browser.

  • Why do you have several ways to view the online map collection? What are they?
    • Viewing the collection with the LUNA Browser is the quickest and easiest way to start seeing the online maps - no download is required, just click on the LUNA Browser Quicklink on the home page. 

    • After you have seen the collection in the Browser, you can download and install the Insight Java Client. While the functions of the Java Client and LUNA Browser are similar, some users prefer one over the other, depending on their computing environment and Internet connections. For slower Internet connections, the LUNA Browser is recommended. The Java Client requires a one-time download; all subsequent launches can be performed from any Java Client link on the site.

    • The Google Earth viewer allows viewing hundreds of maps from the collection superimposed on Google Earth's three dimensional world globe.  Users can either download the Google Earth application or view Google Earth with a browser plug-in.

    • Google Maps offers viewing the historical maps in the Google Maps browser without any download of software or plug-in.  Transparency sliders allow comparing old maps to new maps and views of the earth.

    • The virtual world Second Life has a large selection of maps from the collections on the Rumsey Map Islands, including 100 meter tall globes and huge maps spread out over large landscapes.  To view the maps in Second Life, users must register and download the Second Life software from our Second Life page.

    • The 2D and 3D GIS Browsers offers an entirely different browser viewer that shows a small group of historical maps that can be combined with modern map data using GIS (Geographic Information System) tools.

    • The Collections Ticker is a thumbnail viewer that provides access to the entire David Rumsey Map Collection via the LUNA Browser. Thumbnails and short descriptions of maps, charts, globes and other items automatically "scroll" across your desktop (similar to a news or stock ticker). Clicking on an image opens it in the LUNA Browser's Detail View.

    • Three QuickTime VR views document the library space of the David Rumsey Map Collection. As you pan through the views, hot links on maps and globes open new windows with high resolution images. Requires: QuickTime player.

Using the LUNA Browser and Java Client

  • How do I enlarge the images and zoom in when using the Insight viewers?
    • With the new LUNA browser, simply click on an image once to bring it into the Detail View where you can use the embedded viewing tools. Click on the icon in the upper left corner of an image thumbnail to bring the image into the LUNA Workspace where you can also use the advanced viewing tools. 

    • With the Java Client double click on any thumbnail and a new window will open with tools for zooming and panning the images. When you single click a thumbnail, you can display the data (catalog description) for that image by then clicking on "Data" on the left side of the screen.

  • With the Java Client what is the difference between the Group Window (thumbnail window) and the Image Workspace (window for enlarging images) and how do I move between them?
    • The Group Window displays results of your searches as thumbnails and allows you to browse the collection page by page; the Image Workspace is where you enlarge, zoom, and compare images. To move between the two you click on the curved arrow symbol at the bottom of the tool bar in the Image Workspace, or click on "return" from the Group (thumbnail) Window.

    • The LUNA browser also has a workspace where you can view and work with multiple images simultaneously. The LUNA workspace will open in either a new tab or a new browser window depending on which browser you are using.

  • What are the names of the tools in the Image Workspace?
    • As you mouse over each tool, a small label will show with the name of the tool.

  • How do I make Groups (favorites) in the LUNA Browser? In the Java Client?
    • In the LUNA Browser, these are referred to as Media Groups. When you mouse over a thumbnail image you'll be able to add the image to your Active Media Group by clicking on the icon in the upper right of the image. You can also add images to your Active Media Group from the Detail View. You can easily change which Media Group is your Active Media Group. You can have as many Media Groups as you like and make them public or private, and even password protect them. Public Media Groups are groups created by other users which you can copy or view as a slide show. For more details on how to work with Media Groups explore the online LUNA Help.

    • With the Java Client go to group/new group and a new group window will open, then click on as many images in the main collection window that you want to save into the group and drag them over to the new group window. Then go to file/save group.  

  • Can I create my own slide shows with the map images?
    • Absolutely! With the LUNA browser you can create Slide Shows or dynamic Presentations. Slide Shows will display one image after the next and are created by simply clicking on the Slide Show icon from an open Media Group. Presentations are made in the LUNA Workspace by creating a series of slides. The slides can contain multiple images and even zoomed in details of those images. Presentations can be exported into PowerPoint, shared with others, easily copied and edited and are dynamic in playback- meaning you can change the layout of the slide without changing the original presentation. For more details on how to create Slide Shows and Presentations in LUNA explore the online LUNA Help and the LUNA Flash Tutorials.

    • Presentations can also be made in the Java Client.

  • What are the methods to search the collection?
    • With such an impressive collection, sometimes finding an exact image you are looking for is difficult. With the LUNA browser you can search by Keyword, Advanced Search, or browse by category to see the collection by the Who, What, Where, and When categories. You can also narrow your search using these faceted categories.

    • With the Java Client simple search is searching by the terms first listed when you click on search - by publication author, by country, by state, or by keyword. Advance search is accessed by clicking on "by data fields," then a new list will open with many terms to search on, with the use of full Boolean operators like "and," "or," "greater than," "contains," and others. After a search, to return to the full collection, click on "show all" under the search button.

  • Can I sort the collection by date or other terms instead of the sort by author that the collection opens with?
    • Yes, with the LUNA browser click on the Sort icon in the browse thumbnail view. You'll be able to sort up to four fields. And you can do this in the Java Client by clicking on group/sort by.

Downloading and Printing

  • How can I print and download images from the collection?
    • In both the LUNA Browser and Java Client you can use the Print button to print out images and data, low resolution. To print out just that portion of the image you are zoomed into, you can use screen capture to copy the image into an image viewer like Photoshop. You can also download a screen resolution copy of the image file with the catalog record. In the LUNA Browser just click on the Export icon from the Detail View. To do this with the Java Client go to File/Export after clicking once on the image you want in the thumbnail window. You can then download the image as a jpeg file, and then open it in a viewer and print.

    • For the highest resolution download from the LUNA Browser you'll need to download the MrSid fle and MrSid viewer from a link in the Media Information in the Detail View for any image (or you can download the MrSid Geoviewer). Open the MrSid file in the MrSid viewer, select export and then choose your download location and resolution. With the Java Client this can be done by selecting an image, going to the data window and locating the download links at the end of the information tab. In the Java Client you can also export images at different levels of resolution in Jpeg format – select a thumbnail image, then go to file/export selected and choose a resolution.

    • Please read and observe the Copyright restrictions. For printing from the GIS Browser, read the help files with that browser.

  • Is there a size limitation to downloading the images?
    • The MrSid files can be very large as these are high resolution scans of the original maps. Be sure you are aware of which resolution you are selecting when exporting the images as a TIFF or JPG from the MrSid viewer.

Purchasing Reproductions

General System Requirements

  • LUNA Browser Requirements
    • The new LUNA Browser operates with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome by downloading DHTML and JavaScript to provide Insight user interaction on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Mac OSX 10.3+1. The LUNA browser does not require installation or plug-ins, but does have some basic requirements and settings you need to know. Run LUNA on a PC or Mac that is 166Mhz or faster. Actions happen faster when images are kept in memory. More memory is an advantage for using images. For Macintosh system users not viewing the collection in OS 10.2 you may need to increase the memory for the application, and turn on virtual memory. You should have at least 800 x 600 screen resolution and 16-bit color depth. You can use 8-bit color, but will lose a significant amount of image quality in the AMICA Library. Your ideal internet connection would be LAN 100MB+, DSL, ISDN, or CABLE. And the minimum would be a 56K Modem.

  • Insight Java Client Requirements
    • IInsight Java Clients work on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Mac OS 10.2+. The Ideal amount of memory to run the Java Client would be 128MB+, and the minimum would be 32MB. You should have 60 MB allocated to your hard drive space. The ideal monitor would be 20" or larger non-interlaced monitor (1024x768). The minimum would be a 15" non-interlaced monitor (800x600). Your ideal internet connection would be LAN 100MB+, DSL, ISDN, or CABLE. And the minimum would be a 56K Modem.

  • Collections Ticker Requirements
    • The Collections Ticker has the same requirements as the LUNA Browser listed above.

  • 3D GIS Requirements
    • Please read the system requirements very carefully to use the David Rumsey Collection Interactive 3D.