October 07, 2004

david rumsey, map geek extraordinaire

David Rumsey is a map geek.

He's talking about maps and the notion of "deep place" as the keynote for the IFTF conference. These are my stream of consciousness notes, incomplete for sure and all quotes are approximate at best.

He's talking about the evolution of maps. He has a map library in SF, he’s showing QTVR panoramas of it: books, wall maps, old globes. He scanned the maps at high resolution and set up his online map library, which now has 10,000+ zoomable maps with thousands more coming each year. One map is 8’ square IRL, and is online at 24Kx24K pixels (>2GB). The panning and zooming are done in a java viewer that operates much like good old FlashPix; in addition users can create links, annotations, slide shows, and visual comparisons. Integrating old maps with GIS requires georeferencing and georectification; he has a Lewis and Clark map which was accurate in latitude (they used the stars) but distorted in longitude (they relied on clocks they had to wind every day).

Now he’s comparing different maps of the SF Presidio over time, sequentially and 4-up on the screen, all georectified and coordinated. (Where we are sitting used to be swampland in the 1800’s) Now, the Lewis and Clark mosaic, integrating 200 years of cartographic views of the US in a single image. The Stanford U. Kirsher(?) Collection of 18th century correspondence; art objects; viewable/associatable with the map objects. This is all rather amazing…

The Electronic Cultural Altas Initiative integrates georeferenced maps from Rumsey’s collection. His online collection is also indexed by google (web and image searches), and results pages are dynamically generated.

Theres an interactive QTVR view of the library, including hyperlinks to some of the documents.

An old topo map of Yosemite by Wheeler(?), combined with the USGS digital elevation model of the same terrain, enables a stunning virtual flythrough of the old map as a 3d landscape. “It’s a very playful use of the technology” says he.

“The globe as GIS armature…” ESRI ArcInfo globe interface for GIS data, looking a whole lot like Neal Stephenson’s Earth interface from Snow Crash. Zooming down into Port-Au-Prince at 1m resolution. Viewing endangered species datasets geographically. Turning away from the Earth through space, toward Mars.

“Maps will be at the forefront of the new age, in terms of data. Place, and its role in our daily experience…positively connects the old geography with the new.”

Posted by Gene at October 7, 2004 12:38 AM | TrackBack
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