Showing posts from December, 2018

Now use your current location on all mapping tools!

This enhancement applies all of the mapping tools on this website:

County Lines on Google Maps
ZIP Codes on Google Maps
City Limits on Google Maps
Township Range on Google Maps
Location Explorer on Google Maps
Climate Info on Google Maps
Time Zones on Google Maps
Area Codes on Google Maps
Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps

On all of these mapping tools, you always had to start by typing in a city, address, place, etc.

Now with this latest enhancement, if you want to know more about your current location, you can just click the "⊕ Locate" buttons in the upper right corner of the map to immediately zoom to your current location.  As a shortcut, you can also see your current county and answer "What county am I in?" here:

Depending on which of the above tools you're using, once the map zooms in,  the name of the current county, city, ZIP Code, or historical county will appear, along with all of the applicable boundaries.

How might this be useful?
- You want to find out "what county am I in?"
- You're on the road and standing on your ancestor's farm and want to know what county the farm was part of back in 1850
- You're in an unfamiliar area and want to know where nearby research locations are where you can dig deeper (e.g. courthouses, libraries, cemeteries)
- You're travelling in a rural area (and not sure of a town name or address to type, or it's inconvenient to type) and you need to determine your current county or ZIP Code
- I've heard of people using the tool for a wide variety of other uses that benefit from quickly finding out your current county, from geocaching to real estate title work to disaster support relief

Feel free to share in the comments if you have other uses for this!

Technical note:  The "⊕ Locate" functionality will be more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS.  It will work on most desktop browsers as well, but will often be a rough approximate location.  

Google Maps service fully restored on

Following a couple of days of problems, Google Maps functionality has been fully restored on the website and the following tools should be fully operational again:

County Lines on Google Maps
Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps
Historical World Boundary Maps
ZIP Codes on Google Maps

Background:  Over the last couple of days, there had been many reports of "over query limit" and rate-limit problems when people were using the above tools.  Working with Google support, those limits have been reset.

This issue was caused by pricing changes that Google has put in place for users of the Google Maps API, upon which the website relies.  The bottom line is that the website has the potential to become quite a bit more expensive for me to maintain.  As I want keep these tools free and unlimited for everyone, the only way to partially offset these costs is if users of the website click on ads when they find them useful.

Thank you for your patience and for your support of these freely available tools.