Ireland's Ordnance Survey department is preparing to "unveil an online map archive with details of every town, street, and farm on the Emerald Isle dating back nearly 200 years -- an unprecedented achievement expected to be a treasure trove for those tracing their Irish ancestry," reports the Boston Globe.
"For 5 euros a day, roughly $6.40, computer users can access visual images of more than 30,000 maps of Irish localities dating back to 1824, a database cobbled together from the vast archival holdings of the government and universities in Ireland. Users can search the database by zooming in on maps, or using key terms, to pinpoint where their relatives once lived, eliminating often fruitless searches in Ireland's aging paper archives, which are spread out among several facilities and often consume time that could be spent visiting ancestral hometowns."
The site, www.irishhistoricmaps.ie, will be demonstrated this week at a genealogy conference in Boston. I think we can expect more and more useful efforts like this from around the world as digitization continues to become more widespread - what a boon they will be for armchair researchers everywhere!