Mapping: History’s Newest Tool

Cartography has long been a valuable resource for historians, however in the current digital age historians are increasingly turning to mapping as a way of publishing research findings in an interactive and transformative way. Successful ways that mapping has been integrated with history is evidenced in the Queensland Government’s recently developed program QImagery and the University’s of Newcastle’s new interactive on Colonial Frontier Massacres in Eastern Australia 1788-1872,. Similar interpretive programs are being developed by Griffith University’s Harry Gentle Resource Centre on Queensland history topics.

Integrating datasets with virtual mapping can reveal idiosyncrasies specific to a location; plot residential and infrastructure development within a region; and evidence the spread of people, objects, activities and even ideas across area and time. Moreover, these datasets can, when developed appropriately, be constructed in ‘layers’ so researchers and history enthusiasts alike can compare and contrast development between places over time.

Over the past 5 years, the Brisbane Southside History Network has been developing an important local history portal with generous financial assistance from the Brisbane City Council. Mapping Brisbane History is now entering its final phase with some 1,000+ sites in Brisbane being progressively marked and described. The project initially concentrates on Brisbane’s southern suburbs, but input from professional teams across all of Brisbane are invited to express their interest in this initiative.

A workshop to report the progress of the mapping project on the Brisbane Southside will be held as the BSHN meeting on Saturday 26 August 2017 at 1:00pm at the Coopers Plains Library, 107 Orange Grove Road, Coopers Plains. Following this, the Brisbane Southside History Network (BSNH) will host a workshop to launch a major phase of the Mapping Brisbane History Project. All are welcome, and parking is available at the library rear, via Bosworth and Perginga Streets.

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