Review of Geocultures event – Geospatial in heritage domain

Some great projects presented their work yesterday at the JISC GECO geocultures event which explored the exploitation of through geographical approaches and the types of tools and techniques that can be used with geo-referenced/geotagged content.

Here is a brief summary of some of the discussion and presentations which raised points relevant to the Stepping Into Time project.

Dr Humphrey Southall, University of Portsmouth  from the OLDMAPSONLINE project provoked discussion around the “unjustifiable certainty about historical locations” that is seen in a number of historical geospatial projects. The unjustifiable uncertainty arises from the pin pointing of places to precise locations marked by a point or polygon. Thus confusing the notions of location versus place. The issue is that the concept of place is more than a definition defined by set of coordinates. Places are fuzzy. Does a label on a mark really demarcate the location of places. Humphrey suggested these types of projects are more suited to a geo-semantic approach which focuses on the explicit relationships and linkages between places.

A project I really liked where I see a few methodological synergies with our Stepping into Time project is the JISC funded Locating London’s Past: search a wide body of digital resources relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London. The project is built around the GoogleMaps API. What was interesting we the presentation focused upon the  lessons learnt around the selecting of this particular API and the forthcoming limitations of its new pricing policy. Dr Jamie McLauglin, University of Sheffield talked about the retrospective examination of using OpenLayers instead. 

A previous JISC  project, (Bridging the gaps between GIS and the Geoweb: IIGLU) I was part of had a discussion of the merits of OpenLayers versus GoogleMaps API . The  project originally started of exploring the adaptation of an existing Google maps API code base but decided to switch to a structured web development framework,  (Geo)-Django, and enabled us to use OpenLayers instead to take advantage of greater capabilities and openess of this library. For the stepping into time project we are prototyping using GeoServer and (Geo)-Django.

 It was good to see PhD students Ashley and David from the Adaptable Suburbs project present the work completed so far. This project is a follow on to a project at UCL called Successful Suburban Town Centres – which I worked on when I was a post-doc.  The new adaptable suburbs project  is exploring  networks of human activity and the form of suburban centres. The team used an interesting piece of software called RX spotlight with an educational licence to batch process the vectorisation of  old maps – the results looked very impressive. I am certainly interested in exploring the results of this software compared to QGIS, ARCGIS or Manifold to see if it is effective for our project.

This is just a small sample for the great presentations and project, if you missed the event live blogging was available, so please take a look. A will upload my slides to the blog later this week.

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One Response to Review of Geocultures event – Geospatial in heritage domain

  1. Pingback: Presentation to JISC GeoCultures Event, Localising Wartime Past: London’s Blitz | Mapping the Blitz Bomb Census

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