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Google debuts "interactive, digital Atlas" with Maps Gallery

Non-profit organisations like the National Geographic Society have created all types of maps which can take you back in time to see what an area of the world looked like in the past. Sadly, however, these maps aren't always easily accessible to the public online.

But we have good news, cartography fans. Google is looking to change that. The Web giant this week introduced Maps Gallery, an "interactive, digital atlas" which lets you explore maps depicting everything from world climate trends to up-to-date evacuation routes. The maps can be viewed though the new site itself, or in Google Earth, and they're also discoverable through major search engines.t

What else can you find in the gallery? History buffs can check out a map of trails Lewis & Clark travelled during their famous expedition, while parents might be interested in finding out the best schools in their region.

You'll also find maps of Internet usage by country over time, historic city plans, housing affordability in different locations, US congressional districts, and even the location of shipwrecks throughout history.

At this point, the Gallery includes maps from the National Geographic Society,World Bank Group, United States Geological Survey, Florida Emergency Management agency, and City of Edmonton, though Google said that more organisations will be adding their maps over time.

"As the Gallery grows, it'll be easier to find out where we've been, where we are, and where we're going, giving us a new way to look at the world around us," Google Maps product manager Jordan Breckenridge wrote in a blog post Thursday.