Base Maps

  • Sumo

Description: Many of the pipelines we’ll undertake will be built on the Hypercities platform — a platform that allows for spatial data to be layered, manipulated, and, most importantly, tagged and navigated temporally as well as spatially.  In its own words, “hypercities is a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.” One of its affordances which interests us particularly is its ability to layer multiple historical maps on top of one another and to visually adjust the opacity of each layer.  The historical and spatial relationships that can be discovered through this perspective are exciting to contemplate.

In order to build out the many projects we envision, the Base Maps team has begun populating Hypercities with maps of Edmonton.  To date, we have established a strong partnership with the University of Alberta Map Library, and have georeferenced and uploaded 21 historical maps of Edmonton to the platform.  This was phase one of the Base Maps project.  Maureen Engel is currently authoring an article outlining the theory, methods, and outcomes of phase one of the Base Maps pipeline.

In phase two, we will explore making datasets from the City of Edmonton’s Open Data Catalogue available within Hypercities. Once submitted, these layers will be available to anyone using the hypercities platform, and can form the base for countless projects besides the pipelines that our research team will produce.

Status: Phase One complete.  21 historical maps of Edmonton have been georeferenced and uploaded to Hypercities.  Edmonton is now its own node in the system.  We remain open to the discovery of new maps and continue to seek out appropriate content for each of the pipelines.

Method: 1) digitize historical maps of Edmonton; 2) research copyright and obtain permissions where necessary; 3) georeference according to hypercities protocols; 4) maintain granularity so that maps can be re-purposed for other platforms as needed; 5) render appropriate city data into hypercities compatible kml files.

Scope: Large, ongoing project.

Platform: Hypercities

Authorship: Maureen Engel — with the collaboration of Joyce Yu and Ryan Beauvais