Treasure Maps

Treasure Maps creates a photo slideshow that can be viewed while an animated Google Map shows the location of each picture. As the slideshow plays a trail map is created from where the photos were taken. Some Free Vector Map of USA with State Names, in Adobe Illustrator and PDF are free download vector ai format.
Treasure Maps is a Python-based application that combines Google Maps, geotagged images from Picasa web albums and GPX files to create a slideshow of geotagged images using Google Maps. The code is available under the GNU General Public License v3.
The code is hosted at Google Code. Here are some examples of Treasure Maps in action:

  • treasure-maps
  • Rambletown
  • OBX Runners



Find treasure with Google Maps

Archeological analysis has confirmed that our Google Maps Street View team has indeed found one of history’s long lost relics: a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate, William “Captain” Kidd. The map was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean, as part of a deep-water dive to expand our underwater Street View collection. Captain Kidd was rumored to have buried his treasure around the world, and tales of a long-lost treasure map have lingered for generations.When Dr. Marco Meniketti, an independent archaeologist, confirmed that this was Captain Kidd’s 315 year-old map, we were very excited. However, as seen in the video, the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols and is not readily decipherable. We need your help to decipher these symbols and find Captain Kidd’s treasures; therefore we’ve decided to digitize the map and make it accessible to everyone.

Our digital version allows anyone to explore Captain Kidd’s long-lost treasure map

To access Captain Kidd’s treasure map, click here or on the “Treasure” button in the top right corner of Google Maps. If we all work together, we can solve the mystery. Be sure to follow the Google Maps G+ page as we work together to decipher the clues to Captain Kidd’s buried secrets.

Finding Treasure

Searching for buried treasure was the stuff of dreams when I was a kid.  I remember my little friend and I burying a small tin containing some goodies in our back garden with the thought of digging it up later as "buried treasure".  We never did find it again despite numerous attempts!

Inspired by my recent pirate jackets, I wanted to create a series of fun pirate accessories for imaginative play and Treasure Maps seemed a great place to start...

Children can navigate past cannibal villages and volcanoes, through jungles and swamps, even rest in "Jack's cave" and watch mermaids frolic amongst the rocky shoreline before finding the treasure.

This was a joint effort with my honey - I  loaded him up with all the elements I wished for the first map and his finished result is exactly what I had pictured.  (He is so amazing!)
We distressed the paper to make it look like it had been folded up in a pirate's pocket for a while and had changed hands during a few battles...
Luckily you don't need to battle a pirate to get your hands on one.  We have made a wee stash of them - each is individually made and hand coloured so no two are exactly alike!  Great for play and also as a decoration on children's walls etc.

Introducing Google Treasure Maps

In order to help the ailing global economy Google Maps has today unveiled a new map layer, 'Treasure Maps'.The new Treasure Maps layer should help all fortune seekers find any nearby hidden booty. To view the Treasure Maps layer just select the button on the top right of Google Maps. If you need additional help in finding any hidden treasure, whilst in Treasure Maps, open Street View which now has a very handy black and white telescope view.

There are actually a number of hidden clues on the map. Look for icons that have numbers beside them - the numbers are map co-ordinates that you can follow to new locations. Check out the comments below for help on where to find the treasure or check out this Treasure Maps - Spoilers post.

If you do manage to find the two passwords hidden on the map then you should be able to access two zipped files that Google have now posted online. Here's what Google says about the files:

"Have you found Captain Kidd's long-lost treasure yet? We found some locked treasures on the map, but Captain Kidd locked these with a secret code:"

The new Treasure Maps layer of course has nothing to do with April Fools Day.

MapsTD has already hacked the new map layer. You can now play Tower Defence on the Treasure Map layer of Google Maps.

The Great Global Treasure Hunt

You can now create your own Treasure Map games on Google Maps. Map Channels has released a new simple to use platform which you can use to create your own treasure hunt map games.Treasure Maps helps you easily set-up a treasure hunt game with Google Maps and Google Street View. You just need to add a few locations (and a few clues to find the locations) and you can then share your treasure hunt game with anyone that you want.

Before creating your own treasure hunt you might want to play some of the games already made with Treasure Maps. For example, the Tour of London treasure map requires you to find and locate 15 famous landmarks in the English capital. Your task is to follow the clues to find each location on the map. A large circle on the map shows you the current search area. As you get closer to the correct location on the map the circle gets smaller, narrowing down the area you need to search and helping you in your quest to find the correct location.

If you create your own treasure hunt game with Treasure Maps you can share the link to the game with your friends or you can embed the game in your own website or blog.

Utah Treasures is dedicated to following the stories of lost gold, buried treasure and Spanish mining in Utah.  
Many books have been written on the subject but within them there have been several misleading comments, photos and even some out right lies published to make them more entertaining.  We strive to clarify these mistakes and help you to see the true history and wonderful mysteries that Utah holds.

Treasure Maps

I've been enjoying using treasure maps in Taenarum.  They come up as random results on the magic items table, and I've placed them manually to add interest to a treasure hoard and relocate treasure to someplace more appropriate.  They serve a useful, self-referential purpose in the dungeon.  They give the players a reason to circle back and discover something previously missed, or offer them a useful clue they need to hold onto until it makes sense - when they can match the map snippet with the treasure  against their larger map.

I'm firmly in the camp that a megadungeon needs lots of empty rooms and fly-over terrain.  The players aren't meant to laboriously explore every corner of every room; they're frequently passing quickly through empty spaces en route to an actual destination or quest.  It creates space for them to find a reason to return to an 'empty' area later when they find a map or clue indicating a hidden cache.

My creation process is straightforward - I determine the room where the treasure is hidden, first (randomly, of course) and drop a quick note in the room description where the treasure is hidden.  Then I'll make a small map, usually showing the treasure room and a nearby room or hallway.  The objective is to give the players a small pattern on a snippet of graph paper - whenever they've mapped enough of the larger dungeon to match the snippet, they now know where to search.

I've placed a few verbal treasure maps as well, little rhymes such as "Black water beneath the cypress tree, third step down to find the orange key".  So far, none of these have shown up in game reports, though at least one is hidden on somewhere on level one.

Eventually, the treasure maps I use will be more elaborate - they'll point to areas outside the dungeon that require quests and wilderness travel.  For lower levels, the self-referential maps are fine.  I don't want to over think them, and don't let them become blockers.  They're completely optional for the players - bonuses for the vigilant.

Spanish Treasure: Maps from the Age of Exploration

Map of North and South America

The Birmingham Public Library and the Alys Stephens Center are pleased to present the lecture Spanish Treasure: Maps from the Era of Exploration on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Library’s Arrington Auditorium for a fun and exciting program which will portray Spanish exploration and growth in the New World, as recorded on maps. It will highlight the tremendous effect that Spain had on the development of the region, and the lasting heritage in much of the Western Hemisphere.

Drawing from the library’s world class collection of 16th and 17th century maps, map librarian George Stewart will take attendees back in time by showing them some of the earliest and most significant maps to come out of the Spanish expeditions to the New World. Early maps were not only important navigational tools, but they are also incredibly detailed works of art. Many of the maps are elaborately decorated and include such eye-catching details as sea monsters, native flora and fauna, and beautiful inscriptions. After the presentation, time will be available to view the original maps. Many of the library’s most treasured maps were donated by Rucker Agee, a lifelong map collector and enthusiast. The library has also benefited from the donations of fellow collectors John C. Henley, III, James Woodward, and Dr. Charles Ochs. Thanks to their generosity, the Birmingham Public Library houses a truly extraordinary map collection.

Treasure maps

(Map of Lesvos from 1597 by Giacomo Franco)During my daily walks along the sea I’ve stated that since at least several months the sea has been at a very low level. Wasn’t the sea level supposed to rise? Whether it storms or not, the water remains much lower than it was last year. I have never seen it so low. The Aegean doesn’t have strong tides, so could there be another system, unknown to me, that makes the sea lower or higher from one year to another?

I looked for it on the internet, but found nothing, except that it seems that the North Aegean gets colder (although that depends on the winters) and that there are certain gulfs in the North Aegean which are more vulnerable to tsunamis (Lesvos is not one of those regions).
I found a report about the correlation between the rise of the sea level and the warming of the earth (which is already well known, but I don’t see the sea rising). And Wikipedia says that during the last glacial period – some 16.000 years ago - the sea level of the Aegean was about 130 metres lower. That must have been in the times that the island was still part of the Asiatic landmass.

It fascinates me to imagine that between the island and Turkey there used to be a large landscape and that in fact we are living in the mountains. This area off course is still there, although now is part of the underwater world. And now that the sea gives some of it back to the sun, I see rocks appearing that I never saw before. Is it possible that I will soon see the appearance of a wall, the remains of a harbour or a house or a castle?

On the old maps you should be able to see what was where in the past. The oldest maps (in general) – or descriptions of maps – date from before the birth of Christ. The man that is called the father of the cartography, Claudius Ptolemaeus, lived around the first century (ca. 87 – 150). This Greek astronomer, astrologer, geographer, mathematical and music theorist, published a guide about how to make maps: the Cosmographia of Geographia. Based on Ptolemaeus’ findings, in 1482 the German Johannes Armsshein made a map that might be the oldest preserved map of the world.

You will find Lesvos on the map but it is so small that you can’t see more than the fact that it’s an island. In 1584 the Flemish cartographer Abraham Orthelius draw a map of the island Crete with below ten smaller maps of other islands: Kythira, Karpathos, Rhodes, Chios, Naxos, Santorini, Milo, Limnos, Evvia and Lesvos.
Some years later in 1597 it was the Italian Giacomo Franco who made a map specifically of the island of Lesvos, and another preserved antique map of Lesvos was made around 1800 by the Frenchman Choiseul-Gouffier, where he also depicted Lesvos’ biggest attractions of that time: the throne of Potamon (, the aqueduct of Moria and a wall sculpture.

When walking over the island or making a tour by car, many a tourist must be cursing when he discovers that his map is inaccurate. There are no accurate maps of the island and there are some maps where you feel that the cartographer just made scribbles to mark the roads. But those antique maps won’t help you out either. Look at the two earliest maps mentioned above: the form of the island is too stretched: the capital Mytilini is placed north east instead of south east).

And where is Mythimna (Molyvos)? And why is it that Petra is in the south? Or should I have turned the map a quarter? But then some places are actually completely wrong. Would the cartographer actually has explored the island or just visited Mytilini where he was helped by locals to draw the map? In those times the rest of the island was pretty wild and it was hard to travel around the island. The easiest way to reach Molyvos for example was by boat. But in those times most people did not go any further than the capital.

What is striking about those old maps are the fairly large rivers and a few islands along the shore. How high would the sea level have been in those times? Mytilini used to be on an island, separated from the mainland by a canal. They filled in the canal and that is now Ermou, the most important shopping street of Mytilini.

And what about the large number of castles depicted in the ancient maps? There even is a Greek ruin designed close to Mytilini. But where is the castle of Molyvos? And anyhow, where have all those castles and the Greek temple gone? The maps are like treasure maps and sometimes I get the same feeling I got when visiting the Valley of the Kings in Luxor (Egypt), where you walked in an area where even today many tombs must be hidden, because they never found the tombs of all the pharoahs.

The maps do prove that, over the centuries, the island has changed a lot: rivers have shrunk and castles and temples disappeared completely. It is difficult to determine from the map how high the sea was. But because of the many small islands and the large river estuaries, my guess is that the sea then was much higher. So maybe one day I will see a ruin rise out of the sea now that the sea gets lower, although on the place where I guess Eftalou is located on the maps, there are no old castles to be seen. But that does not mean that there cannot be one, because I can’t find the castle of Molyvos on those early maps either. Strange, because Mythimna (the ancient name for Molyvos) was an important part of the history of Lesvos and the castle was definitely there in the fifteenth century.

Real Live Treasure Maps

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island, the young Jim Hawkins finds a map in the sea chest of the erstwhile pirate Billy Bones. Jim learns that the map is, in fact, a treasure map and sets out with a colorful crew of adventurers to find the hidden wealth.

In Susan Cooper’s children’s classic Over Sea, Under Stone, the Drew children find themselves secretly going through the attic of an old coastal house in Cornwall while on vacation. The youngest child Barnabas happens upon an old manuscript containing a map and an ancient text that lead the children on an Arthurian adventure to find the Holy Grail.

Treasure maps and coded messages make for fun suspenseful stories. They show up regularly in books and magazines targeting all age groups. The film industry also capitalizes on their appeal on a regular basis. The Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean movies are just a few of the more popular examples but there are many others.

Another genre of treasure maps exist, however, that far fewer people are familiar with, even though they involve very real maps and just as much romance and adventure as their more popular counterparts. I’m referring to the hand-crafted maps tucked away in the notebooks and memories of naturalists and other outdoor enthusiasts. And it is no exaggeration to say that these maps are sometimes guarded with the same level of secrecy as any map pointing to a stash of precious metal.

I’m not referring to the thousands of distribution maps of organisms that occur in the libraries and private collections around the world – the kinds of maps one finds in field guides and in the more scholarly journals describing animals and plants. These maps are very important in showing the geographic ranges of species. And as animals and plants change where they live over time, these maps can help us understand more about them. They are fascinating maps in their own right. But I wouldn’t go so far as to call them treasure maps. They are usually drawn to scale and are widely published – without the sensational aura that surrounds a secret.

Treasure maps are different. They are not generally printed in color on glossy paper (at least not until the treasure has been discovered or until it has gained a general historic interest). They tend to be drawn in notebooks, on separate sheets of paper, or on whatever writing scraps happen to be available. They are frequently drawn in pencil with thin curvy lines showing streams, natural outcroppings, farms, buildings, meadows, prominent trees, etc., all of which are almost never drawn accurately to scale. And the location of the specific habitat is usually marked with an ex – which is often encircled.

Yet while it is true that these crude methods of crafting treasure maps can add to their mystique, I don’t mean to imply that other maps are not similarly appealing. Most maps are capable of sparking the imagination.

The first gifts that I remember receiving as a young boy were maps. One was a globe and another was a book of antique maps. Before I learned to enjoy reading, I loved to look at them and imagine what unknown places were like. Then as a young teenager I became fascinated with birds, mammals and insects, and I discovered – from distribution maps – that different kinds of creatures could be found in different places not far from my home.

This discovery led me on day hikes and short overnight adventures into the foothills and mountains above my home. I was thrilled to find an abundance of interesting mammals including squirrels, chipmunks, and deer. On occasion I also saw moose, badgers, and skunks. I loved watching the juncos and towhees that were common, and I was thrilled beyond belief the first time I saw an owl – at dusk, as it flew silently over my head. Maps, in a very real way, introduced me to a whole new world.

I began making my own journal entries that occasionally contained hand-written maps of the places I had been. As I go back and read these entries (at least the ones that aren’t lost) I find that the maps are more interesting to me than the texts. I think I understood this at a fairly basic level even as a teenager.

It was then that I began to look at maps a bit more closely. What could I find on another mountain or by a desert spring? What about the many streams and rivers with unusual names that curved in thin blue lines away from mountain peaks? Maybe I would discover a new species near one of them.

Jerry Brotton has recently pointed out that maps have given many imaginative souls the ability “to rise above the earth and look down on it from a divine perspective…”. This comes pretty close to describing the thrill I have often experienced looking at maps and planning expeditions to fascinating places both near and far. I have never really lost my romantic fascination with unknown wild places. Just opening a field guide and glancing through the pages of distribution maps inevitably sets my mind to work planning my next trip.

I have to admit, however, that this sort of thing often gets me into trouble – sort of like chasing a wild goose, as my Mother used to tell me. Just because a map shows the distribution of an animal or plant does not mean that you will automatically find the specific habitat or location of what you go looking for.

Take for example Lewis’s woodpecker. This is a fairly good-sized bird – about the size of a robin – with an attractive red face and pink and white breast. It was named after Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame). A distribution map indicates that this interesting bird occurs throughout the western United States – especially throughout the Rocky Mountains. It occurs over a fairly large area. And yet I have only seen it on one occasion, even though I have been watching birds in the Rockies for decades.

I remember the occasion well. I was at home one weekend working in the yard when my friend Steve – obviously excited about something – found me and divulged his important news. He said that a pair of Lewis’s woodpeckers had been sighted near the town of Mapleton, and he wanted to know if I would be interested in driving down to look for them with him.

I quickly rearranged my schedule and off we went. I remember well the lonely road where we found them. There were a few scattered farm houses about with meadows and fields extending into the foothills of the Wasatch Front. We were driving slowly with heads peering up into trees and into bushes looking for any sign of the birds. Finally Steve spotted them in a distant tree.

They weren’t behaving like typical woodpeckers. They would often be perching on branches instead of hanging to the trunk of the tree. And at times they would fly into the air after insects instead of pecking at the bole for subcortical creatures – like most woodpeckers do.

Both Steve and I were thrilled. The place is marked in my memory like a real treasure map. Sadly I have lost the one I think I drew. Even the two tall cottonwoods and the barbed-wire fence – where the two birds where foraging – remain clear to me after all these years. I remember thinking as we left the site that I had just experienced something unusual, something unexpected. In a way I felt privy to a secret.

Through the years I have marked many of these experiences in my journal – often with lined maps and descriptions on how to find the place again. Many biologists do the same thing, especially if they keep a field notebook, like most field biologists do.

I was surprised many years ago to find that these same landmarks and general features found in field notes are also part of real treasure maps. My brother-in-law, who is fascinated with the history of Spanish mines and miners, introduced me to some of the maps of the lost Rhoades gold mines in the Uintah Mountains of Utah. The kinds of maps that have been found (and, in some cases, recreated) are just what one finds in dozens (perhaps hundreds) of field notebooks around the world. Of course this makes perfect sense. A landmark is a landmark regardless of the treasure.

And make no mistake about it, this information is guarded. Biologists know that many species – especially the less common and unusual ones – can be easily exploited by unethical collectors. And so they withhold information about specific localities where some of them live.

I recall some years ago hoping to find a few specimens of the beautiful tiger beetle (Cicindela pulchra). I knew a place above Fort Collins, Colorado where several had been collected in previous years and went looking for them. In fact I ended up returning to the same place several times over several years (always at the right time of the year when they would be out and active) yet I never found a single individual. It turns out that they had been driven to extinction in that place by over-collecting. It’s no wonder that serious biologists are suspicious about anybody they don’t know seeking locality information. And while the removal of a few individuals from a healthy population may be fully justifiable – even helping to promote understanding about a species – removing too many can destroy the population.

Some time ago I was involved with a discussion group considering this very issue. The group was comprised of editors of the international journal Zootaxa. One editor, that was responsible for an interesting but less popular animal group, wanted to get feedback on why specific localities were not listed with the original description of a species. The dilemma became apparent immediately. Locality information should be available, especially in a professional publication; and yet it also needed to be protected, especially when vulnerable species were involved.

This may seem like an unsolvable problem, and yet it has been handled quite nicely now for hundreds of years. Since specific locality data are almost always kept on museum labels near the individual specimen or in the field notebooks of researchers, museum curators get to monitor who has access to this information and who does not. Field notebooks and their accompanying “treasure maps” aren’t available to just anybody.

I don’t mean to imply that only museums keep these valuable maps. This would be impossible given the fact that professional biologists are not the only people interested in finding interesting species, or who draw maps of interesting places. And this brings me to a very important part of the issue: we need more people keeping field notes. We need you to start taking field notes.

Maybe your notebook will be nothing more than a list. Birders are famous list keepers and many of their lists also include valuable locality information. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in keeping butterfly and dragonfly lists too. Wildflower enthusiasts are frequently good note and list makers – as well as good photographers (and artists). When one considers just how intimately connected many animals are to the plants that sustain them, it becomes obvious how valuable good geographic information can be.

If you happen to stop by the side of a country road to take a picture of a pretty wildflower, why not take an extra minute or two to draw a little map of where you spotted it – and perhaps a note of the date and circumstances. Try and capture any insects that might be feeding on the flowers, or what other kinds of plants are doing. The more you do this, the more you will become drawn to the area and its inhabitants even as you begin making a record that could become quite valuable. And you will have started creating your own real live treasure maps.

Perhaps this all sounds a bit too fanciful. But that is precisely the point. Remember that the word “fancy” has several meanings. Yes, it can refer to an impulse or a delusion. But it can also refer to a skill, to an inclination, or to a dream. It most certainly refers to the imagination. And it is in this context that the difference between joy and sadness are most apparent. And why shouldn’t we be part of a very long and honorable tradition of adventurers, dreamers and romantics? Being able to appreciate a beautiful sunset or the song of phoebe depends entirely upon your fancy – upon your imagination – just like it was for the artists and adventurers of generations past. And besides, human nature is quite clear on this point: there is no better way to capture this very real and very local fancy than with a picture, a poem, or a map.

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Last Modified: March 6, 2017 @ 3:47 pm