Modern Research Maps
1:50,000 Loose Detailed Map (Wanderkarte)
As illustrated below, this type of map is loose and unfolds for viewing. At a reduction ratio of 1:50,000, these maps provide a detailed look at communities and include every conceivable locality, road, and geographical feature. This is the researcher's best friend and companion! So much can be learned by studying the cartography of a region and becoming familiar with its localities and features. Once familiar with the region on paper, traversing its roads in person becomes a much more rewarding experience. Here are two web links to companies that sell excellent detailed maps:
1:100,000 Bound Book Map with Gazetteer (Auto Atlas)
It is helpful to carry a fairly detailed road atlas while conducting research as well. These generally contain a gazetteer (Ortsregister) that can assist you in finding localities outside of the restricted area covered by your loose detailed map. As people in all ages were fairly mobile, it is important to have maps that cover all of Austria, but still provide enough detail to locate smaller villages and hamlets. A very good map book entitled, Auto-und Freizeitatlas - 1:100,000 Österreich is published by Haupka Verlag ISBN 3-89513-113-X).
Online Interactive Maps
Although not of much use in the field, these can be helpful research tools back at home. Here are a couple of interesting samples:
Many specialty maps exist that focus on a particular topic or region. Some of these are available online, but most remain relatively hidden in books and finding aids at archives and libraries. Here is a very detailed online specialty map which focuses on localities in Lower Austria:
(The Interactive Map of Lower Austria is a particularly useful tool! Note the small blue-gray map in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Just below the map are two text links. Click on the second link: "NÖ-Karten." This will open a new window with a map of Lower Austria displayed. You may single-click anywhere on the map and it will continue to zoom in providing more detail. But the best feature to locate a specific locality in Lower Austria is the "Suchthema wählen" to the left. Click on the drop-down arrow and select: "Orte/Berge/Gebiete" from the list. Type the name of the desired locality in the box. You may also search on partial names if you are not certain of the full spelling. Then click on the "Suchen" button. If the search is successful, one or several localities will be listed below the map. This list will also provide you with the name of that location’s Gemeinde (governing municipality) and also its type. Click on the magnifying glass to the left of the desired location to zoom in to see an aerial photograph of that place. You may zoom out using the "+ -" tool above and to the left of the map. Using the "hand" tool, you can drag the image and travel wherever you please viewing either maps or photographs at varying magnifications. It seems that very small hamlets and simple place names have been included in this map's database of localities. If you receive the message, "keine Übereinstimmungen gefunden," it means that no locality met your search parameters. Don't get frustrated; you may search on as few as one letter, but it must be the first letter(s) of the locality name. Remember that the spelling of many localities has changed over the years, and that this interactive map only covers Lower Austria. This is absolutely the very best map tool for research in Lower Austria!)
Historical Research Maps
Also of value to the researcher are historical maps. These are generally held by various government archives and libraries and must be viewed at their facilities. These may often be reproduced in different formats by the archives or library for a fee. An excellent example of this type of map is a series of "Josephinische Landesaufnahme" held by the Lower Austrian State Archives (Niederösterreichische Landesarchiv). These land records contain detailed maps of localities and lists of inhabitants. They document individual parcels of real property and provide a very interesting glimpse into the economic foundation of the community: its land.
Here are two other examples of historical maps available online: first is Georg Matthäus Vischer's 1697 map of Lower Austria and the second is a Military Mapping Survey of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was published in 1910: