For the cartophile in all of us, nothing beats a good historical atlas.

Comparing then and now, the farms of yesteryear turned into the thoroughfares of today, can command a special attention, and on July 1 the U.S. Geological Survey sought to capture that attention by launching a massive online tool which allows users to layer more than 100 years of maps across the entire United States of America.

The modern Dallas-Fort Worth metro, overlaid with an 1891 map of Dallas. (Image via USGS)

The modern Dallas-Fort Worth metro, overlaid with an 1891 map of Dallas. (Image via USGS)

In conjunction with the Atlantic City Lab and using ESRI mapping software, the USGS’ Historical Topographic Map Explorer brings more than 178,000 maps together in one place.

New York City now, on the left, and in 1949, on the right. (Image via USGS)

Northern New Jersey and Staten Island now, on the left, and Brooklyn and Manhattan in 1949, on the right. (Image via USGS)

Users can layer a single historical map on top of the modern map, or they can layer multiple historical maps.

Chicago. (Image via USGS)

An 1889 map of Chicago, top and right, overlaid with a 1963 map of Englewood. (Image via USGS)

The tool is searchable by city, and, of course, users can forgo all the layering and appreciate the aesthetics of individual historical maps.

Miami in 1956. (Image via USGS)

Miami in 1956. (Image via USGS)

This story has been updated.

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