Building Historical Maps for Cityscapes, An Online Discovery Tool for Urban and Cultural Studies

Submitted on Wednesday, 12/15/2010, at 7:19 AM

For the past year and a half, my department, Academic Technology Services, has been working on a mapping project that we call Cityscapes. It's a “Web 2.0” tool to allow students to collaborate in their studies of urban neighborhoods, where geography should be an organizing theme. Think of Google Maps, then think of groups of students adding their own location markers and decorating them with photos, videos, and blogs.

The two sites we've created so far can be seen here:

http://www.ats.amherst.edu/tokyodemo
http://www.ats.amherst.edu/parisdemo 

The Tokyo site is not completely open due to copyright considerations; if you would like an account, contact me.

My part of this project was preparing the historical maps that you see in the image below. This included georeferencing them but also turning them into properly positioned Google tiles.

The Cityscapes Tokyo site, animating the available maps.
I recently gave a presentation on this project at the Northeast Arc Users Group Annual Conference in Newport, RI, and I've uploaded my presentation here:Building Historical Maps for Cityscapes, An Online Discovery Tool for Urban and Cultural Studies  Movie PDFEven more recently I gave a second presentation at the ESRI Developers Meet Up in Boston, MA, which was focused on the details of the Python script I wrote to automate the process of generating the Google tiles. I've uploaded that presentation here:GTiler: A Python Script to Generate Google Tiles From a Georeferenced Image Movie PDFI plan to make the GTiler script available shortly, once I work around a geoprocessor memory leak and finish a couple of remaining features.
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Cityscapes Tokyo Animated.gif1.15 MB

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My lightning talk from UMass' Information and Communications Technology Summit on 3/31/2001, a variant of the first presentation above , can be found here

 Cityscapes: An Online Discovery Tool for Urban and Cultural Studies Powerpoint PDF

 

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