Guest Post by Robby Holler, Geography/International Relations ’13
During the past two months, I’ve spent time working with other GIS interns with many of their projects. Much of my time, though, has been spent on two projects: georeferencing an 1868 atlas of central Pennsylvania and georeferencing and vectorizing a map of Lake Otsego. Both of these projects tie in closely to the Susquehanna River Valley and are part of the Stories of the Susquehanna program.
Most of the GIS student assistants pitched in to help with the 1868 atlas. Together we georeferenced over 30 maps of central Pennsylvania. To do this, we scanned pages from the atlas, clipped them to include only the maps, and then used stream, state road, and local road shapefiles to georeference them. Most roads on the county maps correspond to still existing state roads. The local presence of this project struck me as I drove down 522 a few days after georeferencing Middleburg, Beaver Springs, and Beavertown. It was interesting to drive down highways I had mapped and recognize all the local cross streets.
Lake Otsego is located in Otsego County, New York, and is known for three things: Cooperstown (the location of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, the headwaters ofthe Susquehanna, and the setting for James Fenimore Cooper’s novels, most notably Last of the Mohicans). It is these last two facts that interest Alf Siewers, Professor of English. He gave me a pamphlet titled “James Fenimore Cooper’s Otsego County” and asked me to vectorize the two maps on it. One map focused on Cooperstown and the other on the whole lake. Both displayed points important to Cooper and his family, or featured in his literature. I georeferenced the lake image and then recorded all the points on the map by creating a new shapefile. To vectorize Coopersburg, I didn’t need to georeference the given map. I just used roads and local landmarks on a basefile to correctly place points in a new shapefile. I edited the tables for each new shapefile to add information about every point, including names and known literary references from Cooper’s novels. Finally, I created an exported final maps with BingMap hybrid basefiles, street layers, a transparent rectified original map, and my new shapefiles.