International Conference on the History of Cartography

20th International Conference on the History of Cartography
June 15-20, 2003 — Cambridge, Mass., and Portland, Maine




Historical Maps and the Internet
Papers presented:
  1. Godlewska, Anne. The web-based atlas of Napoleonic cartography of Italy (
    The web-based atlas of Napoleonic cartography of Italy composed of 6 chapters, 266 pages, 1896 hyperlinks, and 975 was introduced and explained. Recent fieldwork in Italy carried out by the author and Paul Schauerte has allowed the author to reinterpret of a portion of this atlas casting light on the role of narrative in map and image making, the cartographic mentality of military thinkers in Napoleonic France, and the role of authority in shaping science. The atlas itself, together with its emendations, gives us sufficient material to also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the web as a medium for the presentation of an analytical, academic cartographic material.
  2. Lovison-Golob, Lucia. Bringing Historical GIS over the Web to Students.
    At Harvard University Division of Continuing Education, we have applied the concept of web-based geographic information science (GIS) to the field of historical cartography, using a prototype application called the Map Events Tool. We use an integrated web-GIS based approach to extend web-based GIS to historical studies that incorporate historical cartography. Our goal is to make available to a large audience those maps and historical documents that are difficult to access. We also want to promote maximum interactivity between the audience students and users in general and the data that are served over the Internet by data repositories, scholars, and teachers. We achieve this goal by embedding a mapping service into an asynchronous collaborative environment that can be monitored by a system administrator or by a person operating in that role. We will discuss not only the development of this application tool, but also the difficulties that we encountered in applying GIS to historical sources. Through a web-based GIS tool, we will find new ways to preserve the historical context in which the original maps were created. We also will assist scholars in developing interdisciplinary projects and collaborations that will bring an historical perspective into the present and future.
  3. Patricia Alkhoven. Maps and 3D reconstructions of cities (read by Paul van den Brink)
    Maps of cities have always functioned as resources for various kinds of research, such as three-dimensional reconstructions using paper and computer models of cities. This paper focuses on the use and interpretation of maps in creating historical 3D city-models. 3D computer models of cities are made for various purposes such as virtual representations, archeological research, historical reconstructions, tourist and education information, urban planning, etc. Although most models represent the current state of a city, many spatial models are being created for the study and dissemination of knowledge of historical urban environments. These 3D models are mostly created based on maps and other visual material. In order to be able to assess the level of accuracy and reliability in each of the models this paper provides an overview of 3D models of cities, with a focus on terrain, plan etc. and the resulting image. In doing this we will study the making of historical reconstructions from several American and European cities and some city models from other continents. The survey will include examples of real virtual cities made by CAD, GIS, VRML and other techniques.
    The main question that will be assessed is how maps have been used as a basis and resource, and how accurate they are: is there a common method, approach or technique to interpret and extract useful information - both metric and content - from the maps. The paper ends with some recommendations what needs to be done or developed to create a common method to interpret maps.