Displaying historical information on wiki maps?
November 5, 2006 10:04 AM Subscribe
Help a History Professor: How do I create a local history and geography website with wiki functionality?
posted by LarryC to education (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have in my mind a website where local history information could be displayed geographically, on a clickable map. The user could toggle different map layers and display different, overlapping datasets.
Example 1: The user could choose “one-room school houses” and the map would display where such school houses were located, with a red dot for ones that no longer exist and a blue dot for those still standing. Clicking on the dot would bring up modern and historic photos and text about the school house. Old cemeteries would display the same way.
Example 2: The user could search for historic photos and postcards by decade. Choose 1900-1910 and a dot pops up for each photo on the location where it was taken. Click on the dot and get the photo and text. The photos should be taggable with terms like “recreation” or “postcards” and user should be able to tag sort.
Example 3: The user could zoom from a county-wide to a close-up of the main town. I want to create layers of my town by decade, layers that would incorporate block-by-block, building-by-building displays of census data, old photos, newspaper articles about notable events which happened there, etc.
Example 4 (the tough one): Old maps would be somehow connected to the database. I have digital copies of the first surveys of my country from the 1840s. Ideally, I would like users to be able to view such maps, then to toggle modern overlays that would appear on them—principally roads.
Big Complication: I realize that if I get this all up, it will require an enormous input of data to make it interesting. I can use a certain amount of “volunteer” labor from my college students. But what I would really like to do is to make this a huge experiment in community history, and allow anyone with an internet connection to go in and add their information to the maps. There are so many genealogists and local historians out there, if I harness their interest, this could really take off.
So how do—or can I—make this happen? I have no particular computer skills, and am hoping to use free, intuitive products like Google Maps to make this happen. If I have to learn GIS, it probably isn’t going to happen.
Any clues how I get started? I have found many places that do parts of what I want, such as Wikimapping or Flickr geotagging or MS Mapcruncher, but nothing that integrates it all. Does anyone know of a website where this kind of thing is already happening that I can use as a model? Links are very much appreciated!