Visualising Urban Geographies - Stuart Nichol


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Presentation given at the Geospatial in the Cultural Heritage Domain - Past, Present & Future event in London on 7th March 2012. The event was organised as part of the JISC GECO project.

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Visualising Urban Geographies - Stuart Nichol

  1. 1. team •Professor Richard Rodger (University of Edinburgh) •Chris Fleet (National Library of Scotland) •Stuart Nicol (University of Edinburgh) •Daniel Henrie (National Library of Scotland)
  2. 2.• Objectives of the project;• Outputs;• More detail about the online mapping tools;• Sustainability;• Lessons learned?
  3. 3. of the project • To create a set of geo-referenced historical maps of Edinburgh (for student learning purposes); • To reach a broader public (through NLS website); • To develop tools for working with and visualising historical source material; • To develop dynamic maps, graphs and diagrams relating to Edinburgh, so as to further the understanding of 19th and 20th century cities. = Pilot or Proof of Concept Project
  4. 4.• Resources: • 25 georeferenced maps of Edinburgh 1765 – 1950 (WMS, TMS and downloadable JPG/JGW). • A suite of digitised boundary polygons (ShapeFiles and KML).• Documented workflows.• Online mapping tools.
  5. 5. tools for historians• The website• Aims: • Avoid complicated GIS; • Quick wins for the user – not ‘mission- critical’ accuracy; • Quick wins for the project – small team with minimal specialist IT support;• Relatively heavy reliance on Google APIs.
  6. 6. history• Social & economic historians tend to gather a lot of geographic data;• Find it hard to visualise that data geographically;• Looking for patterns – it doesn’t have to be accurate.
  7. 7.
  8. 8. ‘mashup’ design• APIs • Google Maps, Geocoding, Elevation, Visualization, Docs & Spreadsheets • Yahoo geocoding • NLS Historic Mapping, AddressingHistory• Tile Map Services & KML/GeoRSS • NLS (OS OpenData), OpenStreeMap, Virtual Earth, user generated• JS libraries • (ExtJS/ExtMap, JQuery)
  9. 9. sustainability & licensing • Google Maps API V2 depricated • Licensing: what are the issues related to batch geocoding from Google? • • Lack of control over changes to APIs • Open HTTP or API? • TMS or WMS? Are our resources sustainable?
  10. 10. resources & skills • We’ve benefited from partnership with NLS – others don’t have that level of access to maps, skills & infrastructure; • Problem of accessing and preparing maps for other areas; • Who should be taking a lead?
  11. 11. learned?• We’ve found it useful to engage with commercial free-to-use services & APIs (quick and functional) ...• but aware of the big drawbacks & limitations;• Have successfully engaged researchers and the wider community.