Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mapping History

I learn everything new about geospatial technologies from two sources. The first is Ogle Earth.

Stephen Geens blogged about the Time Space Map. It is billed as a geographic wiki. I think of the Google Earth Community BBS as that, so I think the Time Space Map is more elaborate. What a great concept and what potential this could have for academics.
Stephen writes: "Wouldn’t it be nice if all of Wikipedia’s historical events could be mapped to Time Space Map via some automated process? (That would avoid a lot of duplicated effort.) Wouldn’t it be nice if Google Earth’s timeline could be put to use exploring the history of any place you care to zoom in on, via a KML network link served by Time Space Map?"
I would take it further. Wouldn't it be great to share all places discussed in Wikipedia as KML files? Where is Poughkeepsie, NY? How about where is Poughkeepsie REALLY. James Baldwin grew up where? On the lower East Side? Battle of Normandy occured in the middle of France? You can zoom to locations in Wikipedia but it's not elegant at the moment and it is highly inaccurate. When you click on 'location' in Wikipedia, you should be able to launch Google Earth and fly there.

We have an ethnobotany professor working on a project in class this semester where the students will go out and map the locations of ethnic markets in the Poughkeepsie community. She wants the students to take photographs and upload them, with a description, to Panoramio and, of course, geolocate them, so that others can see these markets and what you can get there. Further, she wants the students to add content to the Wikipedia page for Poughkeepsie that will highlight the ethnic market community. If the two, Google Earth photos and Wikipedia entries, could be combined...that what be powerful. I'll post about this class later in the semester.

I mentioned two great geospatial sages. The other most-informed person I know about all stuff geospatial is Diana Sinton. She let me on to the fact (via a list) that the new book Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS are Changing Historical Scholarship edited by Anne Knowles (Middlebury College) and Amy Hillier (Univ of Pennsylvania) is out through ESRI press. Highly useful for those of us who support mapping, this book will be great to use for ideas for mapping in the humanities.

So, these two, seperate, unrelated topics are in the same post. Why? Because how cool it would be if Placing History could be designed to incorportate new tools like Time Space Map, right? That's the next book. Or I guess it would be an e-Book?

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