Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Historical GIS Project: "Montréal l'avenir du passé" Adds Data

Detail of watercolor by James Duncan, "Montreal in 1832," McCord Museum
Montréal, l’avenir du passé (MAP) is Canada’s oldest and largest historical GIS. The project team has been working on a new phase, which will be available for use in the coming month. In anticipation of that release, one of the project's leaders, Robert C. H. Sweeney, has written an essay for NICHE (Network in Canadian History & Environment), explaining the enhancements to the site:
This exceptionally rich resource consists of four distinct elements: a new cartography of all properties in the city in 1903, detailing who owned what; an index of all household heads in the 1901 census linked to this map at the lot level; a 30% sample of the complete manuscript census returns of the city’s households; and a geo-referenced vector map of all 101,353 buildings in the city in 1912. These research tools for understanding Edwardian Montréal build on MAP’s earlier layers for 1880, 1846 and 1825, which are available online.
 In detailing the work of the MAP group, Sweeney also discusses examples of questions that the data might be used to answer; for example: "Imagine if you could examine the entire real estate portfolio for any proprietor in a large city linked to detailed household descriptions of up to a third of his or her tenants. Imagine if when you did, you discovered that women owned a quarter of all rental units in the largest city in turn-of-the-century Canada and that they appear to have managed these properties differently. Wouldn’t that change how you think about gender relations in the past?"