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Articles | Volume 1
15 Jul 2019
 | 15 Jul 2019

Japanese Map Warper for Spatial Humanities: The Japanese old maps portal site

Keiji Yano, Satoshi Imamura, and Ryo Kamata

Keywords: Japanese old maps, Rectify, Portal site, World Map, Libraries

Abstract. Since the middle of the 2000s, digital humanities (DH) involving the collaboration and uniting of research fields from both the humanities and sciences has begun developing rapidly. It involves investigation, analysis, synthesis and presentation of knowledge through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is expected to create a new knowledge base within the humanities; history, linguistics, literature, art, files, and so on. By definition, a new field of digital humanities is technical driven given its elaborate use of computing, and is also distinctly interdisciplinary through the ICT (Kawashima et al., 2009). At the same time, “spatial turns” are referred to throughout the academic disciplines, often with reference to GIS and the neogeography revolution that puts mapping (Guldi, 2018).

As human geography would be a part of the humanities, so all research within human geography can be a part of digital humanities. Geo-spatial information that is dealt with in geography possesses geo-referenced data. GIS has also become popular in digital humanities. The application of GIS within history is facilitating the formation of a new area of research, historical GIS (Gregory and Healy, 2007). Historical geographers have been making use of GIS as a research tool, applying it to historical space within a geographical context. However now we see historians beginning to use GIS within their own research. So far, the relation between human geography and history has been compared to the difference between the dimensions of space and time. While geographers make extensive use of maps focusing on spatial patterns of their temporal changes (spatial process), historians make use of ancient documents as a resource focusing on the temporal relationship between phenomena (Knowles, 2008).

To ensure a leaping development in the new project-based research style through interdisciplinary and international collaboration within Historical GIS in Japan, and by extension traditional humanities in Japan, it is of great urgency to build portal sites that can provide comprehensive and lateral search of Japanese old maps which are fundamental materials, while making GIS analysis possible.

The aim of this paper is to introduce Japanese Map Warper (bilingual version), based on an online georeferenced tool developed by Mr Tim Waters in 2009, and to construct a portal site of Japanese old maps which can be embedded into GIS.

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