Mapping Alternate Terrains:
GeoHumanities and Cartographic Expression
Ryan Mattke • Kevin Dyke
University of Minnesota Libraries
At the University of Minnesota Libraries, we're engaged in a variety of geohumanities work.
Some of this work occurs at the level of a subject library (in our case, the John R. Borchert Map Library).
Elsewhere in the Libraries, DASH is a cross-disciplinary project fostering collaboration around emerging digital tools and methodologies.
Outside the Libraries but with strong connections is U-Spatial, a spatial research support center at the University of Minnesota.
Building interfaces for analog collections
Making use of “raw”
What came first, the digital collections or the engaged audience?
It turns out, digitized maps (like pretty much all other digital
objects) benefit tremendously from some kind of presentation.
Targeting different audiences
Generally used as part of an exercise in one class session.
By 2007, the Borchert Map Library had a collection of over 15,000 digitized aerial photographs.
How to help users quickly find the most relevant aerial photos?
Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online
aka MHAPO (the "H" is silent)
Uses Esri products for front and back ends.
Recently added large scale Minneapolis photos.
Twin Cities Historical Aerial Mosaics
Georeferenced series of ten 1956 aerial photos encompassing Minneapolis and St. Paul
Starting this spring, we're going to expand metro wide and add additional years
University of Minnesota Campus History
Used current footprints (provided by U of M Enterprise GIS) as a baseline.
Next, used georeferenced maps to recreate building footprints across campus over time.
Working with other collections in the Libraries
Kautz Family YMCA Archives
Part of Archives & Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries
Collects the historical records of the Y's national resource office, YMCA of the USA, and also holds records of the Greater Twin Cities and Greater New York YMCAs.
Created a prototype map showing YMCA locations in the Greater New York area over time.
Upper Midwest Jewish Archives
Map created by Clarence Miller in partnership with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center
Illustrates an area of North Minneapolis during the 1920s where many Jewish immigrant families lived
Tying information from photos and oral histories to locations on the map in hopes of understanding a neighborhood that was basically demolished in the name of urban renewal.
Move towards "born digital" projects that aren't necessarily rooted to
a particular collection.
Working with Rebecca Krinke, a local artist and faculty member in Landscape Architecture
Large wooden map (around 5ft by 8ft) of the Twin Cities
Took the map around town and asked people to draw on areas of the map that they associated with either joy/pain
We've recreated the project for the Web.
How to channel the communal/collaborative spirit of the original?
Mapping La Comédie Humaine
Three Balzac novels
1814 map from the Borchert Map Library collection
Created a list of place related French phrases
Used Voyant to identify places
Manually plotted on the map
Geocoded for reference and web version
Traces movement of three main characters throughout the city