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DC-36 - Historical Maps in GIS

The use of historical maps in coordination with GIS aids scholars who are approaching a geographical study in which an historical approach is required or is interested in the geographical relationships between different historical representations of the landscape in cartographic document.  Historical maps allow the comparison of spatial relationships of past phenomena and their evolution over time and permit both qualitative and quantitative diachronic analysis. In this chapter, an explanation of the use of historical maps in GIS for the study of landscape and environment is offered. After a short theoretical introduction on the meaning of the term “historical map,” the reader will find the key steps in using historic maps in a GIS, a brief overview on the challenges in interpretation of historical maps, and some example applications.

DC-11 - Street-level Imagery

Street-level imagery consists of collections of photographs taken from the perspective of moving pedestrians or vehicles. These collections are often stitched together digitally and georeferenced to create interactive and immersive landscapes that are virtually navigable by users. Such landscapes, sometimes called 360-degree panoramas, or bubbles, are uploaded onto web platforms, and linked with geographical databases, which allows users to search and explore the imagery in various ways. IT companies such as Google have created street-level imagery platforms that rely primarily on paid drivers, although they have begun to rely on contributor submissions to complement and expand their coverage. Recently services such as Mapillary and OpenStreetCam have advanced a model that relies primarily on volunteer contributors, leveraging community interest from projects such as OpenStreetMap. While street-level imagery has become a widespread tool with multiple commercial and non-commercial applications, it is also entangled various legal and public opinion controversies, due to its capabilities for private data collection and surveillance. 

DC-10 - Aerial Photography: History and Georeferencing

In 1903, Julius Neubranner, a photography enthusiast, designed and patented a breast-mounted aerial camera for carrier pigeons. Weighing only 70 grams, the camera took automatic exposures at 30-second intervals along the flight line flown by the bird. Although faster than balloons, they were not always reliable in following their flight paths. Today the pigeon corps has been replaced by unmanned aerial vehicles, but aerial photography continues to be an important source of data for use in a wide range of geospatial applications. Processing of the imagery to remove various types of distortion is a necessary step before the images can be georeferenced and used for mapping purposes. 

DC-28 - United States Census Data

The Census Bureau collects extensive numeric data on the residents of the United States as well ast the national economy.  This is accomplished both through a decennial census as well as numerous other more frequent surveys. The decennial census is a fundamental basis of American democracy, mandated by the U.S. Constitution and essential for the equal representation in a democratic government. Numeric census data are maintained in vast collections of tables and organized at many different levels of geographies. From the Census website, the geographic and tabular data can be downloaded and then joined for display and analysis within a GIS. Because of the nature of individual data aggregated over areas and other matters, care must be taken to avoid statistical errors when undertaking spatial analyses.

DC-27 - Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that collects information reflected or refracted from the Earth’s surface. The instrumentation that collects LiDAR data can be housed on drones, airplanes, helicopters, or satellites, and consists of a laser scanner that transmits pulses of light. These transmitted pulses reflect or refract from objects on the Earth’s surface or from the surface itself, and the time delay is recorded. Knowing the travel time and the speed of light, an elevation of each pulse above the surface can be determined. From the pulse data collected, the user can determine the topography and landscape features of the Earth or whatever surface has received the pulses. The evolution of software that displays and analyzes LiDAR data and the development of new and more compact file formats have allowed the use of LiDAR to grow dramatically in recent years.

DC-01 - Professional Land Surveying

Professional Land Surveyors are the only profession that create the legal description of land parcels, which are then officially recorded to show ownership and rights pertaining to each and every land parcel within a jurisdiction. The Surveyor is skilled at undertaking the physical measurements that are needed to locate accurately land parcels on the ground and to write the unambiguous legal description of the land to create legal title in real estate. These land ownership records are critical for the transfer of ownership in the real estate market. The legal land description provided by Surveyors forms the foundation, and the real estate market provides the mechanism, for real estate to become the largest store of tangible wealth in any free market economy.

DC-12 - Aerial photography image interpretation
  • Use photo interpretation keys to interpret features on aerial photographs
  • Calculate the nominal scale of a vertical aerial image
  • Calculate heights and areas of objects and distances between objects shown in a vertical aerial image
  • Produce a map of land use/land cover classes using a vertical aerial image
  • Describe the elements of image interpretation