JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Geographic Information Systems (GIS) #general


Matt Friedman
 

Recently there was a post about GIS programs, most
notably ARCview (and ARCinfo.) The best resources
available would be the geography department of a local
college or the planning department of the city or
county. This past year I took an Introduction to GIS
at Sierra College (near Sacramento, California).
Other nearby colleges offer multiple courses in GIS
including GIS cartography and advanced analysis. The
software itself is not dificult to use, but there are
many technical points to master in order to become
proficient. If you have many addresses in a
particlular area the creation of a GIS map could be
quite useful, but a lot of work. For a class project
I considered a genealogical application, but it was
beyond the scope of the class with regard to time
constraints.
GIS is based on the concept of joining together a
data base with a map. Thus each point represent a set
of data. That data could be an address, demographic
information, utility location, tax assessment, or
whatever the GIS maker wishes to put on it. It can be
a very valuable and useful tool, but in all honesty
for the average user Mapquest type programs work well.
Another alternative is to get parcel maps for a
neighborhood and plot the addresses by hand with a
written or typed legend. A computer database would
work as well.
In some areas there is quite a bit of current
data, but much of it is not all that useful to the
genealogist doing research regarding the past. Census
block data and maps (>from the 2000 census) can be
downloaded >from the US Census service. The data can
be found in some thing known as TIGER files
(Topologically Integrated Geographically Encoded
Reference) You can find TIGER files and other GIS
data at a number of sites. For example for the
Sacramento region try www.sacog.org. This might be
far more involved than most people want, but I've
often though that the creation of a worldwide
Jewishgen GIS system would be great to design and
implement. Anyone want to offer a grant?

Matt Friedman

FRIEDMAN, Horodenka, Jasienow-Polny
SCHAFER (and variants), Snyatyn
LITVANOVSKY (and variants) Raczki

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