Sunday, 20 November 2011

4 useful mapping resources

On Friday evening I took the opportunity to attend the monthly meeting of the Bracknell and Wokingham Branch of the Berkshire FHS.

The speaker was Jeanne Bunting, a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists whose talk was advertised as "Maps, Directories and the Census". As she explained, she cut out the part of the talk that dealt with the census as the techniques she had previously described were now largely redundant owing to indexing.

There was a handout with 30 resources, websites and books. It has a copyright notice so this will just touch on some of the websites mentioned I hadn't encountered before.
A Google add-on; just click on a point on a Google map and it returns latitude and longitude, and tags for Flickr and RoboGEO (a commercial facility for geocoding digital photos.) Originally you could enter an address, but that facility is now disabled.
A way to create Google maps from an array of addresses, intersections, cities, states, and postal codes and other data. You can vary the plotting symbol depending on a data value. Free, there's a Pro edition if you need more capability.
According to the company blurb:

"a few clicks suffice to add points of interest to any geographic area of your choosing and benefit from the power of a professional application.
Simply download your maps to display them on your local computer, share them or publish them on you website, for free."
A commercial version with ability to save maps online is available.
From the Ordnance Survey, quality maps with detail on geographic features and topography.

There's no substitute for exploring these to see if they meet your needs. But, in many cases you'll find the capabilities of My Places at will meet your mapping needs.

A nice touch at the meeting was to be greeted by one of the society leaders, the program chair I think. I also appreciated the single sheet handout, printed on both sides, that briefly introduced the topic of the evening's meeting, summarized the previous one, listed forthcoming event, and on the reverse highlighted new resources and developments.  It can be done online, but taking away a piece of paper, with scrabbled notes on the evening talk, seemed like a especially tangible benefit of having attended.

1 comment:

Persephone said...

I was intrigued by the "BatchGeo" device, so, just for fun, I copied-and-pasted the list of facts I've compiled for one of my great-great-grandfathers on Ancestry. This includes occupations and vitals, as well as nineteenth century London addresses, but I didn't bother to edit. Sure enough, the map-creator reported that it had "Geocoded" 119 records and that "50 locations could not be found" (not surprising, as only a fraction of the data I had entered could be defined as a location). I was confronted with a map with "thumbtacks" all over the world, but when I zoomed in on London, I found 10 locations pinpointed and 7 of those were accurate! Not bad from the dog's breakfast of data I had entered, including addresses that no longer exist!

I don't know if I'll use it, but I'll certainly keep it in mind!