Vernacular GIS: Mapping Early Modern Geography and Socioeconomics

Chapter

Abstract

One of the key objections made against the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in the study of history is that they cannot contend with the geographical imprecision and gaps in the surviving records from the early modern period. The time, funding and manpower necessary to produce GIS are also a concern. However, these obstacles can largely be overcome through the usage of digital maps which are ‘vernacular’ rather than geospatially precise—i.e. which depict locations as contemporaries typically described and understood them, with respect to basic geography and natural and man made landmarks, rather than striving for mathematical precision. Such vernacular resources can be created with digital mapping programs which are now readily available and often by just one historian or student rather than by a team. The chapter shows how they can be employed to map the geographical and socio-economic landscapes of populations and cities in early modern Europe, how this bypasses key concerns about the use of GIS, what benefits this can yield for research, and what concerns and complications remain. The primary example given is the author’s mapping of the scientific instrument trade of early eighteenth-century London.

Keywords

Geographic Information System Early Modern Period Instrument Maker Rent Level Geographic Information System Technology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. .
    Arias S, Warf B (2009) Introduction: the reinsertion of space into the social sciences and humanities. In: Arias S, Warf B (eds) The spatial turn: interdisciplinary perspectives. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. .
    Baker A (2006) The London instrument trade, from Culpeper to Cole. In: Grob B, Hooijmaijers H (eds) Who needs scientific instruments? Boerhaave Museum, Leiden, pp 99–105Google Scholar
  3. .
    Baker A (2009a) The business of life: the socioeconomics of the ‘scientific’ instrument trade in early modern London. In: Eliassen FE, Szende K (eds) Generations in towns: succession and success in pre-industrial urban societies. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp 169–191Google Scholar
  4. .
    Baker A (2009b) Reading between the lines: the instrument trade in the newspapers of 18th century London. Sci Instrum Soc Bull 102:12–17Google Scholar
  5. .
    Barnett G (ed) (1936) Two tracts by Gregory king. Johns Hopkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  6. .
    Beier A, Finlay R (eds) (1986) London 1500–1700: the making of the metropolis. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. .
    Berry H (2002) Polite consumption: shopping in eighteenth-century England. Trans Royal Hist Soc Sixth Ser 12:375–394Google Scholar
  8. .
    Bunge W, Sack R (1973) Spatial prediction. Ann Assoc Am Geograp 63(4):566–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. .
    Butlin R (1993) Historical geography: through the gates of space and time. Hodder Arnold, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. .
    Byrd M (1978) London transformed: images of the city in the eighteenth century. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  11. .
    Clifton G (1995) Directory of British scientific instrument makers 1550–1851. Philip Wilson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. .
    Corrigan J (2010) Qualitative GIS and emergent semantics. In: Bodenhamer DJ, Corrigan J, Harris T (eds) The spatial humanities: GIS and the future of humanities scholarship. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp 76–88Google Scholar
  13. .
    Curran M (2010a) ‘Mettons toujours Londres’: enlightened christianity and the public in pre-revolutionary francophone Europe. Fr Hist 24(1):40–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. .
    Curran M (2010b) The Société typographique de Neuchâtel and networks of trade and translation in eighteenth-century francophone Europe. In: Thomson A, Burrows S, Dziembowski E (eds) Cultural transfers: France and Britain in the long eighteenth century. Voltaire Foundation, Oxford, pp 257–267Google Scholar
  15. .
    Davis D (1966) A History of shopping. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. .
    Field J (1988) What is scientific about a scientific instrument? Nuncius 3(2):3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. .
    George M (1925) London life in the eighteenth century. Harmondsworth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. .
    Gregory I, Ell P (2007) Historical GIS: technologies, methodologies and scholarship. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. .
    Guillery P (2004) The small house in eighteenth-century London: a social and architectural history. Yale University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. .
    Gwynn R (1985) Huguenot heritage: the history and contribution of the Huguenots in Britain. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. .
    Harben H (1918) A dictionary of London. Herbert Jenkins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. .
    Hill LL (2000) Core elements of digital gazetteers: placenames, categories, and footprints. In: Borbinha J, Baker T (eds) Research and advanced technology for digital libraries. Lecture notes in computer science, vol 1923. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 280–290Google Scholar
  23. .
    Hill L (2006) Georeferencing: the geographic associations of information. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  24. .
    Hyde R (ed) (1981) The A to Z of georgian London. Harry Margary, Lympne CastleGoogle Scholar
  25. .
    Jeffreys J (1954) Retail trading in Britain 1850–1950. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  26. .
    Kennedy L, Ell P, Crawford E, Clarkson L (1999) Mapping the great Irish famine, an atlas of the famine years. Four Courts Press, BelfastGoogle Scholar
  27. .
    Knowles AK (2000) Introduction. Soc Sci Hist 24(3):451–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. .
    Knowles AK (2008) GIS and History. In: Knowles and Hillier (2008), pp 1–25Google Scholar
  29. .
    Knowles A, Hillier A (eds) (2008) Placing history: how maps, spatial data, and GIS are changing historical scholarship. ESRI, RedlandsGoogle Scholar
  30. .
    Kremer R (2007) ‘Making one of Saturn’s moons’: instrument making along new England’s northern frontier. Presented at the 26th symposium of the scientific instrument commission, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  31. .
    Langton J (1972) Systems approach to change in human geography. Prog Geogr 4:123–178Google Scholar
  32. .
    Longley P, Goodchild M, Maguire D, Rhind D (2005) Geographical information systems and science, 2nd edn. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  33. .
    Martí-Henneberg J (2011) Geographical information systems and the study of history. J Interdiscip Hist 42(1):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. .
    Massey D (1999) Space-time, ‘science’ and the relationship between physical geography and human geography. Trans Inst Br Geogr New Ser 24:261–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. .
    Massey D (2005) For space. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. .
    Merritt J (ed) (2002) Imagining early modern London: perceptions and portrayals of the city from Stow to Strype, 1598–1720. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. .
    Morris D (2002) Mile End Old Town, 1740–1780: a social history of an early modern London suburb. East London History Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. .
    Morris D, Cozens K (2009) Wapping 1600–1800: a social history of an early modern London maritime suburb. East London History Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  39. .
    Morrison-Low A (2007) Making scientific instruments in the industrial revolution. Ashgate, Aldershot/BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  40. .
    Ogborn M (1998) Spaces of modernity: London’s geographies, 1680–1780. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. .
    Pepys S (2006) The diary of Samuel Pepys: 1668. Hard, TeddingtonGoogle Scholar
  42. .
    Pickles J (1999) Arguments, debates, and dialogues: the GIS-social theory debate and the concern for alternatives. In: Longley P, Goodchild M, Maguire D, Rhind D (eds) Geographical information systems: principals, techniques, management and applications, 2nd edn. Wiley, Chichester, pp 49–60Google Scholar
  43. .
    Power M (1986) The social topography of restoration London. In: Beier A, Finlay R (eds) London 1500–1700: the making of the metropolis. Longman, London, pp 199–223Google Scholar
  44. .
    Raven J (2004) St. Paul’s precinct and the book trade to c. 1800. In: Keene D, Burns A, Saint A (eds) St. Paul’s: the cathedral church of London 604–2004. Yale University Press, London, pp 430–438Google Scholar
  45. .
    Rudé G (1971) Hanoverian London 1714–1808. Secker and Warburg, LondonGoogle Scholar
  46. .
    Sack R (1972) Geography, geometry, and explanation. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 62(1):61–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. .
    Sack R (1974) Chorology and spatial analysis. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 64(3):439–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. .
    Scouloudi I (ed) (1987) Huguenots in Britain and their French background, 1550–1800. Barnes and Noble, LondonGoogle Scholar
  49. .
    Siebert L (2000) Using GIS to document, visualize, and interpret Tokyo’s spatial history. Soc Sci Hist 24(3):537–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. .
    Soja E (1989) Postmodern geographies: the reassertion of space in critical social theory. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  51. .
    Spence C (2000a) Computers, maps and metropolitan London in the 1690s. In: Woollard M (ed) New windows on London’s past: information technology and the transformation of metropolitan history. Association for History and Computing, Glasgow, pp 25–45Google Scholar
  52. .
    Spence C (2000b) London in the 1690s: a social atlas. Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. .
    Stobart J, Hann A, Morgan V (2007) Spaces of consumption: leisure and shopping in the English town, c. 1680–1830. Routledge, AbingdonGoogle Scholar
  54. .
    Taylor E (1954) The mathematical practitioners of Tudor and Stuart England, 1485–1714. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  55. .
    Walsh C (1995) The design of London Goldsmiths’ shops in the early eighteenth century. In: Mitchell D (ed) Goldsmiths, silversmiths and bankers: innovation and the transfer of skill. Alan Sutton, Stroud, pp 96–111Google Scholar
  56. .
    Warner DJ (1990) What is a scientific instrument, when did it become one, and why? Br J Hist Sci 23(1):83–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. .
    White R (2008) Foreword. In: Knowles A, Hillier A (eds) Placing history: how maps, spatial data, and GIS are changing historical scholarship. ESRI, Redlands, pp ix–xiGoogle Scholar
  58. .
    Woods R, Shelton N (1997) An atlas of Victorian mortality. Liverpool University Press, LiverpoolGoogle Scholar
  59. .
    Wrigley E (1987) People, cities and wealth. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations