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


Matt Friedman
 

Hi All,

I don't know why this question hasn't occured to me sooner, but does anyone know if
there has been any attempt to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a
genealogical tool? GIS combines electronic databases with maps. It is avery
powerful tool as it can allow for amazing analyses with great ease.

An overview of the use of GIS in genealogy can be found at this site:
www.ifla.org/IV/ifla71/papers/201e-Oser.pdf Here are some potential examples:
1. "Layering" of geographic bounadries based on time periods. This would allow a
user to identify the country of a specific location over time. For example the
city of Horodenka. Prior to WWI it was at the eastern end of Galicia within
Austria-Hungary. During the "interwar" period it was in Poland and now it is in
Ukraine.

2. "Geocoding" of records would allow to attach a record or piece of information to
a specific location. Currently when we typically research we look at an
information source and hope to find data for a specific location. An example of
this is current practices where data are attached to a specific location such as a
parcel of land. In the United States many cities and counties have extensive data
sets that are connected to each parcel such as ownership, taxation, use and
structures. An example of geocoding for genealogical use would be the attactchment
of business directory data, census data and vital records to known parcels in a
community.

3. Alll sorts of econimic data could be applied.

4. Examples of GIS applications of a variety of parcel data can be found at:
http://planning.lacounty.gov/gisnet

Another similar site with explanations is: http://www.tompkins-co.org/gis/
Navigate through the page and you will find a wide variety of information.

5. An example of a free data source is: www.nhgis.org

6. There is no limit to the size of the study areas. The example above were of
large areas, but it can be also used for a small area such as a cemetery.
http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring04articles/archaeology-genealogy.html


7. We have many people who have already collected large amount of data, but we
don't have a "mega-catalogue." Wouldn't it be great if we could cross refence
information that we discover and make it available to each other? At this point we
have so many streams of information that at times they are like ships passing in
the night. With GIS it is possible to create a way to do a multivariable search.

Perhaps some of this stuff is already happening...ideas...thoughts?

Matt Friedman

FRIEDMAN, MANN (Horodenka) SPIEGEL, SCHAFFER and variants (Sniatyn)
Litvanovsky (Raczky)

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