Hohensinner 2013: GIS-reconstruction of river landscapes

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Over centuries, hundreds of thousands of historical sources that contain information on the Viennese Danube river landscape have been stored in various archives. This unique wealth of historical material provides an excellent basis for the in-depth GIS reconstruction of Vienna’s topography over the past 500 years. However, the numerous – partly contradictory – sources must be critically assessed, making an authoritative reconstruction even more complicated. This paper describes the different types of historical sources used for the GIS-based reconstruction, the underlying methodological approach and its limitations regarding reliability and information value. The reconstruction was based on three cornerstones: (1) the available historical sources; (2) knowledge about morphological processes typical for the Austrian Danube prior to regulation; and (3) the interpretation of past hydraulic measures with respect to their effectiveness and their impact on the river’s behaviour. The current state of the Viennese river landscape served as a starting point for the GIS work; from there, ten historical states were reconstructed step-by-step going backwards in time to the least well-known situation in the early 16th century. After one reconstruction had been completed, its relevance for the temporally younger situations was evaluated. Such a regressive-iterative approach allows for permanent critical revision of the reconstructed time segments already processed. The resulting maps of the Danube floodplain from 1529 to 2010 provide a solid basis for interpreting the environmental conditions for Vienna’s urban development. They also help to localise certain riverine and urban landmarks (such as river arms or bridges) relevant for the history of Vienna. We conclude that the diversity of approaches and findings of the historical and natural sciences (river morphology, hydrology) provide key synergies.

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Hohensinner 2013: GIS-reconstruction of river landscapes

  1. 1. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 1 Two steps back, one step forward: Reconstructing the dynamic Danube riverscape under human influence in Vienna Severin Hohensinner 8th Water History Conference International Water History Association Montpellier, June 25-29, 2013 Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG) University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) & Centre for Environmental History Vienna (ZUG)
  2. 2. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 2 Contents  Integration of historical information into the GIS reconstruction (examples from 16th century)  Using historical landmarks and data on bridges  Georeferencing historical maps and plans  Regressive-iterative reconstruction method (GIS)
  3. 3. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 3 Nußdorf 2010 Current situation City B. Lager & S. Hohensinner (2012)
  4. 4. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner Austrian Science Fund Project „ENVIEDAN“, Grant No. P22265-G18 Project leader: Verena Winiwarter ZUG – Centre for Environmental History Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt ENVIEDAN – „Envirionmental History of the Viennese Danube 1500–1890“ B. Lager & S. Hohensinner (2012)
  5. 5. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 5 Historical sources Ostendorfer & Formschneider (1539): Heerschau 1532 Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Main components Fluvial forms & processes Hydraulic constructions
  6. 6. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 6 Integration of historical sources into the reconstruction: Niclas Meldeman (1530) – Landmarks in 1529 City wall/towers „Schlagbrücke“ „Taborbrücke“ „Nußdorf“ ?
  7. 7. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 7 Accreting bank Cut banks in older river terrace Backwater ? Cut bank Integration of historical sources into the reconstruction: Niclas Meldeman (1530) – Fluvial structures in 1529
  8. 8. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 8 Short bridge „Schlagbrücke“ „Taborbrücke“ „Nußdorf“ ? „Wolfsbrücke“ W. Schmeltzl Distance in 1547/48: ca. 3900 – 4000 m Integration of historical sources into the reconstruction: C. Stainhofer & H. Mayr (1566) – Landmarks in 1563
  9. 9. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 9 Useful landmarks:  Archaeological findings of bridge remains  Historical descriptions: lenghts & locations of bridges Wolfgang Schmeltzl (1548) Distance in 1547/48: c. 3900 – 4000 m „Schlagbrücke“ „Nußdorf“ Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape
  10. 10. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 10 Useful landmarks:  Historical property borders (location, dating)  Administrative/ jurisdiction borders (“Burgfriedsgrenze”)  Dating / location of boundary markers (Source: Opll et al., 1984) Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape
  11. 11. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 11 Overlay map: L. Anguissola & J.J. Marinoni 1704/06 Octavio Waldegara (1577) Longitudinal section through „Untere Werd“ O. Waldegara (1577) „Schlagbrücke“ „Taborbrücke“ 1704
  12. 12. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 12 Overlay map: L. Anguissola & J.J. Marinoni 1704/06 Base map: Reconstruction 1570 Octavio Waldegara (1577) Longitudinal section through „Untere Werd“ O. Waldegara (1577) „Schlagbrücke“ „Taborbrücke“ „Augarten park“ 1704
  13. 13. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 13 lengths of bridges: => measure for flow capacity of river channels bridge length = bankfull width of channel = ca. 1-year flood at Danube in Vienna Main bridges Tabor bridge Wolf bridge Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Using bridge lengths
  14. 14. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 14 Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Locations of bridges
  15. 15. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 15 Using historical landmarks Vienna c. 1570 Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape
  16. 16. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 16 Clausniez, T. (1601), Oesta/FHKA F 245 Nußdorf Tabor arm Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Interpreting and georeferencing old maps Historical cartographer mapped the Danube how they perceived the importance of the individual channels => not always correct in the geographical / topographical sense
  17. 17. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 17 Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Georeferencing
  18. 18. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 18 Kreuzung • absolute Referenzpunkte (langfristig stabil) • relative Referenzpunkte (kurzfristig zw. zwei historischen Situationen) Georeferencing historical maps Clausniez, T. (1601), Oesta/FHKA F 245 Bridges & road in 1601 „Schwarze Lacke“
  19. 19. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 19 Reconstructing the dynamic riverscape Georeferencing
  20. 20. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 20 1. Georeferencing of scanned maps starting from the current situation => going backwards in time step by step 2. Vectorization (GIS) starting from the current situation => going backwards in time (regressive approach) 3. Revision (GIS) of vectorized younger time situations based on new information gained from the older time situations (iterative approach) Regressive-iterative GIS-reconstruction From a point in time to a time series
  21. 21. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner 2010 1849 1726 Start regressive: step by step backwards in time 24.06.2013 21 Regressive-iterative GIS-reconstruction
  22. 22. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner 2010 1849 1726 Start 1632 regressive: step by step backwards in time iterative revision forwards in time 24.06.2013 22 Regressive-iterative GIS-reconstruction
  23. 23. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner24.06.2013 23 Synthesis  Regressive-iterative reconstruction method enables: (1) a better evaluation of historical spatial information in respect of geographical positioning and of the content (2) a better identification of fluvial processes and human interferences  Integration of river morphological considerations enables: (1) additional conclusions on historical riverscape transformation not shown by the sources (2) conclusions on potential consequences of hydraulic measures on fluvial dynamics  Reconstruction of the historical riverscape: true-to-life reconstruction can not be achieved => „best approximation“ of a historical state of the riverscape
  24. 24. University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna Department of Water, Atmosphere & Environment I Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management I Severin Hohensinner 24 Severin Hohensinner Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG) University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) & Centre for Environmental History Vienna (ZUG) Austrian Science Fund Project „ENVIEDAN“ Project-No. P 22265-G18 Project leader: Verena Winiwarter, ZUG – Centre for Environmental History, Alpen-Adria-University KlagenfurtVirtual flight to Vienna around 1570 A.D.

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