Map of the United States of America 1815

My Georectified Map of the United States of America
My Georectified Map of the United States of America

Georeferencing the map of the United States as of 1815 (which was basically just the eastern half of what it is now) was definitely an interesting experience. I have done georeferencing before, but not in the context of digital humanities, so I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I think what made it particularly interesting was the uncanny overlap of the past and the present, the quaint inconsistencies and equally astonishing resemblance of the two maps. Going through the exercise, I found much value in using geographical analysis such as this to study how landscapes and our understanding of these landscapes changed over time, and I thought about ways I could center this method in my future project.

The map could be accessed in various formats compatible with popular GIS softwares such as ArcGIS or QGIS, and are available in WMTS, TileJSON, or XYZ tiles. There was also an option to export the map to GeoTiff, which is another data storage format. Most importantly, the map could be accessed directly through the web, which is extremely user friendly.

One of the potential use cases for the georectified map is to use it to determine the locations of historic events. We can also compare the two maps and study what kind of inaccurate depictions exist and if so, how they might have been introduced. We can also compare how the understanding of the landscape changed over time, by comparing the maps of the same snapshot across generations.

A problem that might arise with georectifying is the fact that the two maps might be inconsistent with each other, which could potentially cause distortions and inaccurate measurements of distance or area. Therefore this kind of process is not suitable for types of studies where accuracy of measurements are crucial. If it gets done, it should sparingly be referenced literally.



  1. I’m really impressed with how detailed the outline of the image is to match the outline of the map. Great job!

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