The primary aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the careful digitizing of historical maps provides tremendous potential for the historian and historical geographer. A Geographical In-formation System (GIS) has been used to combine the geographic and economic information contained in the Tithe Survey of the mid Nineteenth Century with other socio-economic and environmental data for parishes in Britain’s agricultural heartland and in southwest Wales. The Tithe Survey records of a parish typically c onsist of a map and an accompanying schedule or apportionment. The schedule lists the landowner, occupant, cultivation type and rent charge payable to the tithe owner. The map shows the location of each individual field listed in the schedule. All the maps and schedule data required for the project have been input into a GIS
and consist of approximately 40,000 individual agricultural fields spread throughout 40 individual parishes of England and Wales. Sophisticated analysis enables us to assess such issues as the relative significance of landowner, occupant and natural resource endowments on agricultural productivity as well as identifying a nd quantifying how these factors interact in differ-ent spatial contexts. Whilst the results are clearly significant, the paper will underline the need to be mindful of the pitfalls of using such precise methods and techniques with historical sources and that end-user requ irements should be of paramount concern when embarking on such an enterprise. The design of a suitable data model and the selection of an appropriate methodology for data input are of critical importance.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|