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.
). 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?