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Crowdsourcing Historical GIS

Crowdsourcing Historical GIS

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Dec 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Crowdsourcing Historical GIS
• 12/18/11 • Categorized as
Pastmapper is an innovative project from Brad Thompson who is seeking todocument online the geography of cities over time. Thompson is seeking to
answer the questions of “What was here?” and “Whatever happened to..?” by
creating maps that look at the state of various cities historically by creating GISlayers that reflect how a city looked year by year.The long term goals of this project are enormous as Thompson would like to map
every location and every year.
The project is mostly in the conceptual stage,with a prototype map for the year 1853 covering San Francisco as the working model. The base information for this online map was pulled from a scan of the USCoast Survey Map from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.  Thompson explains: 
 A lot has changed in the last 158 years. Hills have been leveled,coastlines have expanded, and points of interest have beenrenamed. A staggering number of streets have been closed, opened,renamed, or widened. Building numbering in San Francisco changed 
completely in 1861, so even the street addresses don’t match their 
2011 counterparts.
The online map is built using Google Maps and has a toggle button that allows
viewers to switch between streets from 1853 and today’s San Francisco streets.
Also mapped are point data showing the location of people and businesses from1853 based on the 1852-53 San Francisco city directory.To broaden the scope of the project, Thompson is looking for help fromvolunteers who can help create historical layers by vectorizing georeferenced historical maps. 
The process for volunteers to help hasn’t been formalized but the
gs of a “how to” section are being created by Thompson on his blog.

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