Discover real estate and fire insurance maps of Boston and surrounding towns with detail down to the level of buildings and owner names

Go to project

Fire insurance and real estate atlases offer one of the most incredible tools for researching urban form in the period roughly 1860–1940. However, these physical atlases can be cumbersome to use and difficult to compare across multiple volumes. Our Atlascope initiative has geotransformed 110+ atlas layers of Boston and its inner suburbs and made them discoverable as never before on a custom new web interface, suitable for browsing on a computer or mobile device.

Interested in hearing how Atlascope is evolving? We’re currently expanding the tool to cover additional towns across the state of Massachusetts. Visit this page to learn more and to get involved in this project.

Past Atlascope events

Please visit our YouTube Channel to see previous events featuring Atlascope, including our “Neighborhood by Map” series.

Atlascope credits

Atlascope was developed by the team at the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library. Primary design and development of the Atlascope app was conducted by Garrett Dash Nelson. Belle Lipton oversaw the first phase of atlas digitization and transformation for Atlascope v1.0.

Atlas layers have been prepared by multiple teams of interns including Ian Donnelly, Hanaan Yazdi, Abby Duker, Rachel Mead, Luwei Chen, Brian Kominick, Madison Bastress, Liz Kellam, Victoria Mak, Joshua Aldwinckle-Povey, Aditi Shankar, Phoebe McMahon, Olivia Lynch, Denyse Tan, Natalie Gilbert, Dina Gorelik, Olivia Hewang, Erin Olding, Julie Raporte, and Carmen Hansen.

Digitization and preparation of atlas layers was made possible by the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Associates of the Boston Public Library.

New towns across Massachusetts are being added to Atlascope as of Spring 2023. We are grateful to the following institutions an individuals for sponsoring this work:

More information