Points to keep in mind
Many people express GIS as an umbrella of which ther spatial fields such as remote sensing, surface draping rendering (flight simulators) or cartography fall under. These areas are better expressed as separate complimentary entities that exist under the domian of geomatics. This may be a convenient term but for the most part each area of study (except GIS) have risen form its own personal history. GIS has taken advantage of the evolution of these fields as well as combining it with descriptive data about geographical locations. In short GIS we do not look to who invented GIS but rather we look for indications of how the concept of GIS was applied historically.
Much the same as how we starting this course, we realize there is a “classical” view of GIS. We also are learning that GIS (and other fields) are really being combined with Information Mangement strategies to be more than just technical applications.
GIS can be used to create maps, but cartography has been used as a mechanism of communication for man essentially from cave man days.
GIS was named when the method of linking geographic features to descriptive data by digital (computer) techniques – but these methods have been used before in analog fashion.
There are many perceptions of the history of GIS – you have to decide what is the more accurate.
Canada played a large role in the formation of GIS- the digital form
GIS – Three terms in the acronym
We have discussed the term system at length so far in this course. It could be said that from cartographic output the term system is applicable as well. In fact the method of overlaying layers of information to produce results (a map) has always been used in paper cartographic output. Different plates that contain coloured layers are still used to make maps. The key to evaluating historical GIS is in the application of Information.
Examples of Historical GIS
John Snow (not the guy from Game of Thrones)
We are all familiar with Dr. John Snow’s contributions to epidemiology and GIS practices.
These two web links to the UCLA John Snow site illustrate the connection of descriptive information (attributes) to spatial locations.
Studies such as this illustrate historical GIS
the following examples come from the book Past Time, Past Place GIS for History, Edited by Anne Knowles
Image 1: Philly 1937
The above images illustrate mapping attributes for real estate appraisals in Philadelphia in 1937.
Image 2: Victorian GIS
The above image details land allotment in Victorian England
Fig 3 : Ordinance Survey 1909
Another illustration of hand drawn maps and hand kept journals of information associated to spatial features.
Modern GIS (digital data) evolved out of the development of the computer making it possible to store spatial and informational data digitally. The first digital, or modern, or what we conceive of GIS as it is today was implemented in Canada in the mid 60s. This was known as the Canadian Geographic Information System (the acronym was implemented here as well) by Roger Tomlinson in the Canadian GIS development program with the Canada Land Inventory.
Through the seventies GIS was used mostly by government and industry for areas such as land inventory and census applications.
The 1980′s, Roger Wheate calls it the decade for GIS, took advantage of software developed by companies like ESRI and topology defined in the last part of the 70′s to perform more robust analysis techniques as well as making GIS usefull on lab workstations (UNIX primarily). Moving from Government, academia, science and corporations to workstations.
The 1990′s ported GIS to a broader audience and also ported GIS to PC.
2000 onward – next class