Title: Building Historical Maps for Cityscapes, An Online Discovery Tool for Urban and Cultural Studies
Authors: Andy Anderson, Amherst College
Date/Time: Monday, November 8 ~ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Abstract: Cityscapes is a mapping framework for urban and cultural studies that integrates audiovisual media illustrating particular locations. Students studying neighborhoods in a city can use a Google Map to navigate through its streets and terrain, overlay historical maps and adjust their transparency, and create placemarks that link to photos, sound clips, videos, and textual commentary, creating a type of presentation.

The scanned historical maps were georeferenced with ArcGIS against a detailed background extracted from Google Maps. Python scripts were developed to provide this background, as well as to cut the maps up into a tile layer. To provide great detail at large scales, hundreds of control points per map were created over a rough one-kilometer grid, and sometimes more densely.

Cityscapes was created initially for an Amherst College class on Tokyo, and five historical maps from 1680 through 1945 were produced. It is now being extended for use with other cities, in particular Paris and Shanghai, in collaboration with Smith College.
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