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benwbrum

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Apr 26, 2012, 10:24:21 PM4/26/12
to georails
After I attended his amazing RailsConf presentation and his Birds of a
Feather group this week, Daniel was kind enough to send me an
invitation to this list. (Thanks, Daniel!)

I'm an independent developer of historical web applications,
concentrating on the transcription of old handwritten material. (e.g.
http://bit.ly/IUWWLY ). Much of this material contains placename
information, and we're hoping to do GIS-like things with it. I'm
entirely new to the field of GIS, so am trying to come up to speed as
quickly as possible in GIS and the particular challenges of HGIS.

The specific problems I'm working on involve:

Building a searchable database of all the baptisms, marriages, and
deaths occurring in churches in Britain between 1538 and 1837. These
records all contain names of the county and parish the events occurred
in -- at that time. Since the documents were written, county
boundaries have changed, some villages and even counties have been
eliminated or disappeared, and the parishes themselves have undergone
name changes and consolidation. This database will be searched by
people who may only be familiar with modern names and boundaries, so
I'll need to so some translation for the end users.

Defining APIs (and creating a Ruby client for them) to the GBHGIS
database at the University of Portsmouth.

Adding geotags to placenames in a wiki used for a soldier's diary of
the US-Mexico War.

Adding geo- (and chrono-) context to a naturalist's field notes, so
that whenever a species or specimen is mentioned within the notes, we
can look at the context (usually established earlier within the text
by mention of a site) to add a "where collected" location to the
species/specimen. This would allow my client to extract and plot

There are other, more speculative questions I have involving
representation of vector-like descriptions within old deed books,
where properties are described as "8 miles SE of the Court House", but
I don't anticipate working actively on them for a while.

So that's what I'm working on -- how about you?

Ben Brumfield
Austin, Texas
http://manuscripttranscription.blogspot.com/

Jarkko Laine

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May 18, 2012, 11:39:09 AM5/18/12
to georails
Hi everyone,

I'm a long-time (since 2004) Ruby and Rails developer from Finland.
I'm working for Wildfire Interactive as a contractor, but have
recently started working on my own startup/lifestyle business app on
the side. This is where all this geo stuff comes into the picture.

In addition to a developer, I'm also a fairly serious orienteer [1].
The app I'm building is kind of an equivalent to Garmin Connect [2] or
RunKeeper [3], but specifically targeted for orienteers (at least
initially). This means that the geo tracking element plays a
significantly more important role in the form of way more precise
orienteering maps (on which the GPS tracks need to be projected), the
need to adjust imprecise tracks and opportunities for very powerful
analytics. There are some existing desktop solutions but they either
completely lack or have very rudimentary web components and/or are not
targeted for the layman (if you can even use the term here) orienteer
because of a steep learning curve and lacking usability.

I'm still in very early phases but am pretty excited by the challenges
I'm facing, from storing the route data (including temporal and other
data, such as heart rate, elevation etc) to projecting the routes on
user-provided maps (basically jpg files). I'd thus be very interested
to hear war stories people have from building this kind of systems.

Cheers,
Jarkko Laine
http://jlaine.net
http://twitter.com/jarkko

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orienteering, if the term doesn't
ring a bell.
[2] http://connect.garmin.com/
[3] http://runkeeper.com


On Apr 27, 5:24 am, benwbrum <benwb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> After I attended his amazing RailsConf presentation and his Birds of a
> Feather group this week, Daniel was kind enough to send me an
> invitation to this list.  (Thanks, Daniel!)
>
> I'm an independent developer of historical web applications,
> concentrating on the transcription of old handwritten material.  (e.g.http://bit.ly/IUWWLY).  Much of this material contains placename
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