Georeferencing Pennsylvania

The process of referencing a historic map onto a larger world map changed my perspective on the development of digital humanities projects that deal with spatial problems because while I was tediously marking the small corners of Pennsylvania it gave me time to reflect as to why I was doing this. The obvious answer is because I am assigned to for a class, but after seeing my map pasted onto the world, I realized that these projects give us a way to track changes in space across time. I honestly regret choosing Pennsylvania, I think it would have been more fun to choose an older map with more discrepancies to see the changes over time. Specifically, this made me think of an incredibly interesting TikTok account that tries to accurately date globes based on the different countries that exist/don’t exist on the map. I think georeferencing an older globe onto a new one would be a good starting point for a project that analyses how local cultures compare to borders across time (specifically in Africa as colonialism caused borders to shift drastically across time). Georeferencing feels like another exploratory tool that allows further inquiry, it is not an answer/argument by itself.

One issue with georeferencing is finding suitable maps – as maps get older, they get more and more inaccurate due to the available technologies. Morphing an inaccurate map onto a modern one magnifies the inaccuracies of said map and could lead to false conclusions or an incomplete view of a problem. I definitely think that this tool should be used to explore more recent developments, archaeology seems to be a better solution for mapping the ancient world.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.