Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cartographic Connections: Improving Teaching through the Use of Historic Maps

The Special Collections/Archives program area within our library has developed a project called Cartographic Connections: Improving Teaching through the Use of Historic Maps, which is designed to provide access to digital historical maps to secondary education teachers.

Well, the origins of this project predate the Library's involvement with GIS, and so only recently has GIS (spatial reference, vectorizing, overlaying layers, etc.) been considered. I was involved with the creation of a new video introduction for Cartographic Connections, but unfortunately at this time the Realplayer version on the website is still the older version (which does not include any mention of GIS). In the new video, we focused on Roemer's Map of Texas (Topographisch-geognostische Karte von Texas) and we demonstrated how this map can be given a spatial reference (rubber sheeting).

Those folks who have seen this video have really enjoyed this portion and want to give the secondary teachers and students an opportunity to duplicate this exercise without being online. This brings us to my current dilemma, which is how to do this? I have never seen ArcIMS or any other web-based GIS application include the capability to give assign a projection and rubber sheet a scanned image remotely. We have access to ArcGIS Server, but I do not know of anyone on campus who has developing with it, especially not me. I asked those out there for assistance, but seems as though noone knew.

So, the plan now is how best to fake or simulate the rubber sheeting experience. All we really need is for the students to get the feel for the process. Have them match up 3 to 5 points and see the map merge and shift to accomodate these points. We considered Flash, but the development time is prohibitive. I have a meeting today where we will try to brainstorm and figure out a solution.

If anyone out there has a suggestion, please feel free to add it as a comment. I would be very thankful.