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Building the Philadelphia GeoHistory Network

Friday-Saturday, December 2-3, 2005

Proceedings from the Conference:
>> Presentation Descriptions and PowerPoint
>> Breakout Session Transcripts
>> Suggested Links to Projects and Info


Friday Panel I: Geographic Information Systems for Multiple User Communities

Historical Uses of GIS
Anne Kelly Knowles, Middlebury College

Historical GIS is a tremendously diverse methodology. This presentation highlights emerging trends in HGIS and difficulties that scholars commonly encounter when they attempt to use GIS in their research. Focusing on core research questions, finding good technical support, and understanding the character of geographical information are key to successful projects.
Download PDF file.

GIS as a Tool for Teaching and Learning
Diana Stuart Sinton, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program Director for the National Institute for Technology & Liberal Education (NITLE)

GIS has vast potential to support innovative and effective teaching and learning when we connect it with educational goals of global awareness, inquiry-based learning, visualization, quantitative reasoning, and narrative building. Though this process is neither automatic nor always intuitive, we ask new questions and find new answers though the spatial lens that mapping and GIS represent.
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Finding Places in the Past: What's in a Name?
Merrick Lex Berman, Project Manager, China Historical GIS

Historical GIS are sometimes supplemented by digital gazetteers. The gazetteer functions as a thesaurus of placenames, as well as a means of indirect georeferencing, so that references to particular placenames relate to locations that can be mapped. Here we take a brief tour through the structure and functions of digital gazetteers, and how they can serve as intermediaries between search engines and various digital resources.
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Friday Panel II: The Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network -- What it is, what it can be

The Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network: Transforming an Idea into Reality
David Moltke-Hansen

The Present as Prelude to the Past: The GIS Platform of the City of Philadelphia
Joan T. Decker, Commissioner of Records, City of Philadelphia

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Building the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network: A Progress Report
Bruce Laverty and Walter Rice, The Athenaeum of Philadephia/Philadelphia Architects & Buildings Project

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Friday Panel III: Varieties of GIS: Uses and Contributors

Reflections on GIS and Philadelphia History
Billy G. Smith, Michael P. Malone Professor of History, Montana State University

Because of its importance as an early American city, and because of the existence of rich documentary sources, Philadelphia has attracted the attention of many historians for the past several generations. The demographic, economic, residential, ethnic, and racial characteristics of the city are among a host of topics which have been examined. However, very few scholars have utilized sophisticated technological techniques to help us to understand early American's premier city.
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Administrative Lessons Learned- Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System
Dennis Culhane, Director, University of Pennsylvania Cartographic Modeling Laboratory
The Philadelphia NIS is a web-based property and social indicators information system used by city agencies and community-based organizations throughout Philadelphia. The NIS features several applications. The presentation will address administrative lessons learned with developing ongoing relationship with city agencies, data collection efforts, MOU etc.
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Historical Census Data for Small Geographic Areas
Michael Ratcliffe, Chief, Geographic Standards and Criteria Branch, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau

This presentation will focus on work done in the Baltimore area to relate data from historical census manuscripts and county atlases to contemporary census tracts and block groups for GIS use and mapping.
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The Philadelphia Negro GIS
Amy Hillier, University of Pennsylvania School of Design

This presentation will describe efforts to recreate W.E.B. DuBois's 1899 study, The Philadelphia Negro, using historical maps and household-level U.S. Census data. This project aims to encourage new scholarship and to develop materials for teaching and learning. Several smaller scale historical GIS projects relating to Philadelphia will also be discussed.
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Panelist Reactions to Day 1

Robert Kieft, Librarian of the College and Director of Information Services, Haverford College
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GIS and the Frontier of Digital Access: applications of GIS technology in the research library
David Seaman, Executive Director, Digital Library Federation

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Saturday Panel I: Varieties of GIS, continued

The Ideological Geography of the Civil War Era: Some Examples
Lloyd Benson, Walter K. Mattison Professor of History, Furman University

The presentation will provide examples of political, ideological, and cultural patterns from the Civil War Era, drawn from undergraduate teaching and research; will include select Philadelphia cases and a wishlist.

GIS and the Preservation of Shenandoah Valley Battlegrounds: Applications and Lessons
John D. Hutchinson V, Program Manager for Resource Protection, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is one of 27 National Heritage Areas in the US. Since Congress established the national heritage area in 1996, GIS has been utilized in this effort to protect the Valley's Civil War battlefields. Through partnerships, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation has accessed GIS resources on a shoestring.
Download PowerPoint Presentation Download PDF file.

Saturday Panel II: Technical and Management Issues

Persistence of Identity in the Development of Historical Gazetteers
Merrick Lex Berman, Manager, China Historical GIS

Examines placenames as identifiers of geographic features and how to define and record their changes over time. Explains methods for treating places as persistent identities which change, or as a series of discrete instances, and details attributes of historical placenames discovered during the construction of the China Historical GIS.
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Historic Philadelphia through Photos, Parcels and Streets
Robert Cheetham, President, Avencia Corporation
The talk will focus on lessons learned from building software to manage and search both contemporary and historic cultural resources in Philadelphia, including the City's Photo Archives, a Unified Land Record System, Historic Street Names, and a new handheld Pocket Culture browser.
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The Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System (NIS), Technical Considerations
Marlen Kokaz, GIS Director, University of Pennsylvania Cartographic Modeling Laboratory
The Philadelphia NIS is a web-based property and social indicators information system used by city agencies and community-based organizations throughout Philadelphia. The NIS features several applications. The presentation will address technical issues involved in its construction and maintenance and considerations for others when establishing a system that embraces a number of users and contributors.
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Current Technology and HIstorical GIS Data: How does it all work together?
Mark Lecher, ESRI, Inc.
A review of current ESRI technology for georeferencing scans of historical data, as well as challenges with using the data and what some of the pitfalls are of the use of data. Also discussed will be metadata. Details on the development of the National Ocean Services historical mapping project will be discussed as well.