Digitizing and analyzing historical maps to provide new perspectives on the development of the agricultural landscape of England and Wales

Alastair Pearson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    77 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)178-193
    Number of pages16
    Journale-Perimetron
    Volume1
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Digitizing and analyzing historical maps to provide new perspectives on the development of the agricultural landscape of England and Wales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this