Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Questions about our map collection
    1. Do you have a map of ...?
    2. What are cadastral maps?
    3. Why can't I find maps of my hometown in your collection?
    4. Do you buy maps?
  2. Questions about our site
    1. I have an account, why can't I log in?
    2. Why can't I do an address search for my state?
    3. Why can't I find an address in a particular state?
    4. Why does the keyword and town name search functions take so long?
    5. If I do an address search and nothing comes up, will I still get charged?
    6. What do the different quality and attribute icons next to an atlas name mean?
    7. Why do you place your watermark on the .jpg and .pdf downloads?
    8. What are Directories and how do I use them?
    9. I just downloaded a .pdf, but when I try to open the file I get an error that reads "...could not find font in resource directory" or something similar. How can I fix this?
    10. What are the costs associated with using your site?
  3. Questions about ordering our products
    1. Do you sell prints made from your maps? or How much does a print of this map cost? or What size are your map reprints?
    2. How long will it take to receive my order?
    3. Has my order shipped? or Where is my Order?
    4. Are prints made from illustrations, histories, advertisements and directory pages the same price as actual maps?
    5. Can you customize a map for me? or Can I order a print in a size that is not listed on the website?
    6. If I made a mistake or have changed my mind after ordering can I cancel my order and get a refund?
    7. Will I receive an email confirmation after I place an order?
    8. What type of shipping is used?
    9. Can I have a choice to apply my credit towards a map purchase or not?
    10. Can I buy a gift certificate or a gift card for your site?
  4. Questions about our company
    1. Can I sell your maps and prints in my Art Gallery / Framing shop?
    2. Can you provide a high quality print-ready image that does not have a watermark on it?
    3. My local historical society has an interesting collection of materials you do not have on your site, can you scan it for us?
    4. Can I link to your site from my web page or blog?
    5. Why do you charge for Premium Content?

1. Questions about our map collection

  1. Do you have a map of ...?
    There are several ways to find the map you're looking for on our site. Visit our search page, or browse by geographic location. If you are unable to find any images using these two methods, check back often as we add an average of 320 images a day.
  2. What are cadastral maps?
    Cadastral maps are maps which list property owners names or other identifying details on them. These types of maps are the core of the Historic Map Works American map collection.
  3. Why can't I find maps of my hometown in your collection?
    There are a few reasons why we may not have maps for your area of interest. The answer is usually due to one of the following reasons:
    • no atlas was ever published for your area - this quite likely for states in the south and west.
    • we have yet to scan that particular part of our collection
    • we have yet to find a copy of that atlas to borrow or buy
    Be assured that we are actively seeking new material for the map collection daily. We currently upload an additional 320 images per day
  4. Do you buy maps?
    We are always interested in hearing from people who have maps or atlases which do not already appear on our site. If yours is unique, please contact us via email. We are especially interested in American maps which list property owner names on them. It is helpful to include as much information as you know about the map such as title, maker, publisher, condition, size, and year if known. A photograph or two attached to your email will also be helpful.

2. Questions about our site

  1. I have an account, why can't I log in?
    If you are having difficulty logging in, we recommend that you first hit F5 to refresh your screen. If that does not work, clear the cookies in your browser. You may also need to close and reopen your browser, or even restart your computer. Follow these links for step by step instructions for how to clear your cookies in Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 6, and Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Why can't I do an address search for my state?
    We plan to geocode the entire collection. Rather than geocode them in the order that we initially scanned the maps, we are systematically working our way through our map images one state at a time. As we begin a new state, we will add it to the drop down list.
  3. Why can't I find an address in a particular state?
    Most likely we have not geocoded the area in question as of yet.
  4. Why does the keyword and town name search functions take so long?
    If you search for general terms such as county, town, or map after the name of the area you are interested in, the database is required to collect every name in our database that has those terms in their name. For example, If you are looking for maps of Polk County, just type in Polk, and the search should be much faster. Alternatively, use the browse function for a full list of content sorted by state.
  5. If I do an address search and nothing comes up, will I still get charged?
    No, you will not be charged if your address query returns no results.
  6. What do the different quality and attribute icons next to an atlas name mean?
    When browsing a list of U.S. maps, you now have the ability to show or hide various types of map groups according to the attributes we have assigned them. For example, a common request was "how can I view a list of bird's eye views in my state?" Up until this update, when browsing the collection for a particular state, a visitor was presented with a list that included bound property atlases, bird's eye views, single state maps, railroad maps, and nautical charts all mixed together. Now however, visitors can choose which of the above categories to filter on and off by checking and unchecking the appropriate boxes. By default, all content will be shown.

    At the same time, we classified all of our U.S. map groups according to the quality of the images within. There are two classifications: High Quality and Informational Quality. The first denotes high quality scans of original documents that are perfect for fine-art quality reproduction prints, this is designated by the H icon next to the publisher. The second classification denotes scans which are suitable for research use and lend themselves nicely to being printed in our Research Print format, this is designated by the i icon next to the publisher.

    It is possible to order a full-size fine-art reproduction of an image from a map group designated as Informational Quality, however the final print quality and legibility will be much lower than from our High Quality images.
  7. Why do you place your watermark on the .jpg and .pdf downloads?
    Watermarks are placed on the images downloaded from the site to protect our copyright. Before purchasing a download, you can view a sample of how our watermark appears by downloading any image from our evaluation atlas here for free. If you require an image without a watermark, an image at higher quality than our standard downloadable .jpgs, or you would like to use an image for anything other than the non-commercial personal use outlined on the terms and conditions page we offer image licensing. The license fee applies to individuals, businesses, schools, personal websites/blogs, and non-profit groups alike. Images that are available for licensing will have a "License this image from Getty Images" button.
  8. What are Directories and how do I use them?
    The historical books found within the Directories sub-collection are a helpful resource to use alongside our maps while conducting your family and town history research. The majority of the collection is comprised of city and town directories which were essentially precursors to the modern phone book that listed names, addresses, occupations as well as advertisements for the local businesses. We purposely collected city and town directories which are of the same geographic areas and years as our maps so that you can look up an individuals address within a directory to help you locate that person on a map. Some states will have professional directories that contains the name of every physician, lawyer, or musician contemporary to the publication date of that book. Also helpful to the researcher are books whose topics include members lists, yearbooks, and printings from social groups. You can browse a directory page by page or you can search for a specific page by exact keyword such as an individuals name, a business name, an occupation, neighborhood ect. Access to each feature can be found by either clicking either the BROWSE->DIRECTORIES or SEARCH->DIRECTORIES tabs at the top of your screen. It is our intention to "link" the Map collection and the Directory collection more directly at some point in the future. It is also worth nothing that though we only have a small fraction of our collection on the site at the moment (probably less than 5%), it is our intention to scan and upload many more so please check back for new additions.
  9. I just downloaded a .pdf, but when I try to open the file I get an error that reads "...could not find font in resource directory" or something similar. How can I fix this?
    Our .pdfs require the latest version of Adobe Reader to display properly. A free download of the latest version of Reader can be found here. If you already have Reader installed, you can usually check for additional updates by clicking CHECK FOR UPDATES under the HELP tab on the toolbar.
  10. What are the costs associated with using your site?
    Please see our Access and Membership Details Page for our current plans.

3. Questions about ordering our products

  1. Do you sell prints made from your maps? or How much does a print of this map cost? or What size are your map reprints?
    We print fine-art reproductions and make a variety of gift items for all the images displayed on the website. To view a list of print sizes and gift items available for a specific map, click the PURCHASE button located on the left of the screen on the page which allows you to zoom in and out of the map image.
  2. How long will it take to receive my order?
    Orders for unframed or framed prints will typically take 1-2 business days to process before shipping. If your order was placed on a weekend or holiday, it will be processed 1-2 days from the next business day. Orders for gift items may take longer to process than our printed product. Additional time ranges from one to a few weeks depending on demand. Shipping times will vary depending on the type of shipping you select during checkout. UPS Ground to the continental United States typically takes 3-5 days.
  3. Has my order shipped? or Where is my Order?
  4. Visit our tracking page here and enter your order number and shipping address zip code to check the status of your order. If you placed your order while logged into your HMW.com account, log back into your account and go to the MY ACCOUNT page for a list of all previous orders. Both pages will list the UPS tracking numbers when applicable. Note, orders sent by USPS (Research Prints, International Orders ect) will not have tracking numbers and are dependent on standard USPS delivery service.

    When available, click the UPS number to be taken to the relevant online delivery page of UPS.com to see where your item is in its journey. If UPS indicates that your order has been delivered, but you have not received it, please check the notes field on this page as this is where the driver will often leave information about who signed for the package or the door where the package was left. If you still cannot find your package, please call 1-800-PICK-UPS to rearrange delivery with UPS. Alternatively, you can contact the HMW's sales department for additional support.
  5. Are prints made from illustrations, histories, advertisements and directory pages the same price as actual maps?
    Yes, all images on our site follow the same pricing structure regardless of the "type" of image.
  6. Can you customize a map for me? or Can I order a print in a size that is not listed on the website?
    Yes. We undertake custom work outside our busy holiday season for an additional $50 per hour spent on the project. This charge is on top of the price to print the image and covers the extra time required by our graphic arts department to produce your print. Please contact us with your ideas and we will be happy to provide a free estimate.
  7. If I made a mistake or have changed my mind after ordering can I cancel my order and get a refund?
    We ask that you double check all the details of the products you order before clicking submit. Once submitted, an order is automatically generated for our processing department. If you have made a mistake, call us immediately as there might be time to correct it before printing begins. As we print to fill specific orders, once printing has begun we cannot cancel an order or refund your money. If you have any questions, please call before ordering.
  8. Will I receive an email confirmation after I place an order?
    If you entered an email address when ordering, you will receive an email listing an online tracking number once shipped.
  9. What type of shipping is used?
    All of our products ship via UPS, except for our printed "Research Prints" which are shipped folded via USPS.
  10. Can I have a choice to apply my credit towards a map purchase or not?
    When ordering online, you can choose to use existing site credit for purchases via the site or pay the entire balance with a credit / debit card or Paypal. If you decide to phone in your order, you will need to pay the entire amount via a credit / debit card as our sales people do not have access to either your Historic Map Work or Paypal accounts.
  11. Can I buy a gift certificate or a gift card for your site?
    Purchase one of our easy to use gift certificates and let the recipient choose the perfect map. Certificates can be delivered either traditionally by mail or instantly by email. The first type is a traditional gift certificate that we will print off and mail in an envelope to the recipient of your choice using the U.S. Postal Service. Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery. The second is an online e-certificate that will be generated electronically and sent to you (or your recipient) in .pdf format via email. Either delivery option allows you to include a personalized message. Instructions on how to redeem the certificate are included on the certificate itself.

4. Questions about our company

  1. Can I sell your maps and prints in my Art Gallery / Framing shop?
    Yes. Our prints have appeared in over 400+ retail stores around the country. If you are interested in offering an antiquarian map section in your store, please contact our gallery sales department here for a wholesale discount, custom access to our site, a sign with your gallery name and logo, and other point of sales displays.
  2. Can you provide a high quality print-ready image that does not have a watermark on it?
    Yes. If you require an image without a watermark, an image at higher quality than our standard downloadable .jpgs, or you would like to use an image for anything other than the non-commercial personal use outlined on the terms and conditions page we offer image licensing. The license fee applies to individuals, businesses, schools, personal websites/blogs, and non-profit groups alike. For more information about licensing, click the PURCHASE button on the pan and zoom page and then choose the LICENSE tab.
  3. My local historical society has an interesting collection of materials you do not have on your site, can you scan it for us?
    Yes. We have worked with various organizations and private collectors to archive and preserve their own collection. Using the same techniques, software, and equipment created to digitalize our own collection, we can arrange transport for your materials to our offices, create the digital images, and return your works back to you undamaged. The resulting images will be sent to you on DVD for use on your website or for your organization's archives. Many times, we can offer to do this for you completely free of charge. Please contact us for more information.
  4. Can I link to your site from my web page or blog?
    Yes. When viewing a map image of interest on our site, click the ADD THIS button which appears in the very upper right hand corner of the screen above the boxes for your username and password. Doing so will bring up a list of blog hosts and the associated code to allow you to add a link to that image. Alternatively, you can add a link to our site using the URL at the top of the page.
  5. How can I learn more about your company?
    More information about our company can be found on the About Us page of the website. Alternatively, you can download articles about our company here.
  6. Why do you charge for Premium Content?
    Please see this page for an explanation.
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