Digital Humanities
@ Pratt

Inquiries into culture, meaning, and human value meet emerging technologies and cutting-edge skills at Pratt Institute's School of Information

Historical GIS: Exploring and georectifying historical maps

Many digital humanities and cultural heritage projects use mapping techniques to situate and analyze materials in spatial ways. Many of these projects also use freely available tools, such as Google Maps and OpenStreetMap, that plot historical data onto contemporary maps, thereby distorting users’ perceptions of past spatial arrangements, especially shifting geopolitical boundaries over time. Though a few commercial vendors provide historically accurate shapefiles (region outlines), their price, as well as the complexity of using shapefiles, place them out of reach for many institutions and beginning mappers. This project surveys the field of “historical GIS” as well as the open-source program QGIS, which is used to create, manipulate, analyze, and visualize geospatial data.

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A georectified Map of Europe by Smiley (1842)

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