Version 2

1921 Insurance Map

Historical maps help us to visualize what Portsmouth was like in years past. When you start looking at a map, you need to take some time to look at a few elements of the map to get an accurate picture of what information it might supply.

Title — Can you find a title? This is very helpful in understanding why the map was created.

Date— A date can help you understand how the map fits into Portsmouth historical time periods.

Orientation — Can you find a compass rose or at least an error pointing North? Most map makers place North at the top of the map, but that is not always the case.

Scale — When you are dealing with a physical map, a scale of how many miles to the inch can be helpful. When you deal with a map online or printed in greater magnification, the scale information is not as helpful.

Legend — The legend is like a key to the symbols used by the map maker. It is very important to know what these symbols mean.

Author or Company creating map — Knowing who created the map gives us an idea of the bias of the map. Is the map created by a national publisher, a local company, or even drawn by a particular person. How much would they know about Portsmouth?

Questions for you to think about:
1. Why was the map created? Was it to illustrate battles fought, help firefighters know what structures are on properties, mark the landowners or show the roads in town…something else?
2. How does this map compare with maps created befor it or after it.?
3. What new information does this map provide? Does it mark the windmills, show the schools, show the changes in transportation?