#maptimeDavis – Historical Mapping with Open Source Tools


When: May 14th, 2019
@ 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Location: 360 Shields Library
(DSI Classroom)
Cost: Totally FREE!
Prerequisite: Install QGIS (3.4) – QGIS.org free download; R (3.6.0) – R-project.org free download; RStudio (1.2.1335) – rstudio.com free download.
Presenters: Emily Merchant and Michael Mortimer


Learn how to map people and things in the past, using publicly-available data and open-source software! As those in the spatial sciences already know, putting things on a map can help us draw insights and support arguments. But analysts who work with digital maps typically confine their scope to the present, while many historians and other past-oriented scholars in the humanities and social sciences use pencil and paper as their primary tools for spatial thinking.

This #maptimeDavis workshop will focus on visualizing social phenomena in geographic space. We will use open-source tools to map specific moments in the past and map change over time, primarily in North America from 1701 to the present. We will address the challenges of historical mapping, including finding historical data, standardizing metrics over time, and accounting for shifting boundaries.

After an overview on the promises, potential pitfalls, and general principles of historical mapping, Mike Mortimer will teach participants how recover Indigenous histories from colonial sources using QGIS, and Emily Klancher Merchant will teach participants how to visualize social change over time in R, using shapefiles and data from NHGIS.

No previous experience is necessary, but participants who want to follow along should install QGIS, R, and RStudio, along with the following R packages: tidyverse, viridis, sf, cowplot, tigris, gganimate, gifski, and transformr.

Bonus: We have Stickers!

How to prepare:

      1. Register for Event.
      2. Bring your laptop with QGIS (3.4), R (3.6.0), and RStudio (1.2.1335) installed – visit QGIS.org, R-project.org, and rstudio.com for free download.
      3. Install the following R packages: tidyverse, viridis, sf, cowplot, tigris, gganimate, gifski, and transformr. This can be done using the install.packages(“package_name”)’ and ‘library(“package_name”) functions in R. Copy, paste, and run the code below in R/Rstudio
install.packages(c('tidyverse',' viridis',' sf',' cowplot',' tigris',' gganimate',' gifski','transformr'))

About QGIS:

QGIS is a free and open source desktop GIS software. Since its initial development in 2002, QGIS has become one of the industry’s leading software options for GIS. QGIS is used by researchers across the world as well as by many California and Federal agencies in the US. QGIS allows users to access a number of other GIS software packages through its graphical user interface including GRASS as well as user-contributed scripts and plug-ins.

About R:

R is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics that is supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis.

#maptimeDavis is brought to you by the UC Davis Library’s Data Management Program & the UC Davis Center for Spatial Sciences with help from several campus clubs and informal learning groups.  Space is generously provided by the Data Science Initiative (DSI).

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