Author Topic: The mapping needs of a one-place study - a current summary  (Read 3392 times)


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When doing a one-place study what are our various needs for mapping? In particular what are our needs as "one-placers" compared to a more "normal" genealogist who uses geocoded places and can show them as pins on a map (eg in Google Maps)?
  • We can be interested in the minutae of a place (eg milestones, field boundaries, shapes of dwellings, windows on a building, streets, cemetery plots, parks,  parish boundaries, archaeological find, war memorials, transport links, blue plaques etc) - and this has implications for our geocoding, GPS recording etc
  • We can be interested in time periods as well as in points in time, eg from March 1743 to 1756 (and often have to deal with qualified dates - in GEDCOM terms BEF, AFT, ABT etc
  • As well as specifics we can be interested in statistics - eg how many moved from Street A to a neighbouring county in a particular decade, and how did that vary of time and place, population density, death rates etc
  • We may want to know, record and display various attributes and relationships of the elements of a place, with time periods (eg Person A owned Field X from 1920 to 1978, Stream Z was known as Potter's Brook in the 17th century, Field P and Q were merged in the 1840s to become 16 acres field)
  • We may also want to link photos and other media to locations and dates
  • Indeed we often want to have ways of showing more detailed links on specific features  - a link from a house to a picture/summary of residents, a link from a date to highlight roads built during certain phases of road-building, a link from a name to show the mills he owned or places associated with his life etc
  • Aerial photographs can be interesting alongside maps
  • Sometimes we want to analyse or display at a fine granularity (eg an archaeological find to the centimetre), at other times at a coarser granularity (eg all the finds in Field X)
  • We may want to use our data to analyse and research, and test postulates, about our place - not just to record and display
  • We need (ought?) to record sources, citations and degrees of certainty for all our information about places, and locations
  • Often we have recording systems, from which we would like to provide mapping information, so our systems need to be "open" and able to receive input from various sources
  • We may use other systems (eg for genealogy) and we may need to link in with them
  • We vary in our interests, technical abilities etc, so we will need various different systems, and they need to be easy to use
  • We are often on a limited budget so need free access to historic mapping if at all possible
  • We may be interested in terrain, crops, landscape features etc,
  • We may find exact height data (eg from LIDAR) very interesting in helping us to understand our place
  • We need detailed maps, and might need guidance on where to find them
  • We are often willing to put a lot of effort into our place, so can add a lot of value to local mapping - and may be able to mobilise others to do likewise
  • We like to treat copyright material correctly, but would prefer to be researching our place than spending lots of time confirming who has what rights
  • Some might find something like the 'neighbourhood mapping notation' (eg see here) useful for aspects of their study
The needs of one-placers are many and varied, so a whole variety of mapping techniques and technologies may be appropriate at different times. Of course this is all very idealistic, and just a few of these would be nice. However the most important feature is that things are easy to use by non-technical people, as most of us would rather research and share about our place than have to tackle the intricacies of technology.

Some possible specific uses come to mind, that would be lovely to have:
  • A map of our place that shows who lived/owned where and when, as you mouse over it and move a time slider
  • Cross reference against deaths recorded in a given period, in a given location
  • Annotated maps to show where different people lived eg all those serving in WW1, or with different symbols for eg occupation
  • Maps to consider route ways and transport links into and out from a community, and how these change over time
  • Show listed buildings (or blue plaques etc), with images, details and links for more information
  • Show incidences of a surname in different records eg 1881 census, parish registers
  • Show migrations, both in and out, over time
  • Illustrate population levels over time by street or area
  • The ability to see a map of our place and move a slider to see how it changes over time
  • An annotated guided walk, with pictures
  • An app that you can use outdoors and knows what you are looking at - it tells you historic information about, and shows old pictures of, the buildings etc, as you walk around the area
  • A plan of archaeological finds in the area, classified by date
  • An accurate historic field, track and building boundary map
  • The ability to fade between any two maps to compare them
  • A highly accurate relief map that can be manipulated in 3D to understand the lie of the land
  • A graveyard plan, with links to people's information
In terms of display we are interested in the ability (probably similar to other genealogists) to:
  • Acknowledge copyright
  • Show information or instructions on hover
  • Turn on/off different aspects, or events (eg deaths by different reasons)
  • Choose layers
  • Use sliders to show how things change over time
  • Select varied symbols (eg depending on occupation)
  • Draw freehand, add lines and symbols
  • Facilitate multi-language
  • Be able to share to other websites, and social media
  • Be able to be accessed from mobile devices
  • Facilitate devolved contributions
  • Print, visualise etc
(Please start new topics for suggested additional needs or changes, and I will try to incorporate them into this summary post as time goes on.)
« Last Edit: 25 February 2016, 11:30:16 by PeterC »