The History of a Piece of Oakland
A year ago my now friend @brockwinstead wrote a fascinating series of blog posts digging into the people who used to own his house and the land on which it stands. He contacted BOOM: A Journal of California and it is now an article in the winter edition.
Brock had dug up lots of old and cool maps in his investigations. The awesome Jon Christensen at BOOM asked me if I’d be interested in making a digital mapping supplement to Brock’s article. Little did I know what I was getting into when I said “sure, that should be straightforward.”
In the 1820s the Spanish government regularly granted good soldiers like Luis Peralta chunks of land larger than present-day San Francisco. In the 1850s, Americans forced them to sell most of it off. Seventy-five years after the grant, the Peraltas sold off their last piece of the grant.
Brock read his article and interviewed me on his BFF.fm show The Eastern Shore — we talked about the map and the people and what we learned making it (both historical and technical). Gracefully edited podcast version here:
What did I learn? While I would love to do this for more neighborhoods, it was a heavy, heavy lift. For those map and history nerds amongst you, the basic workflow was:
old maps —> NYPL Map Warper —(GeoTIFF)—> Google Earth —(KML)—> QGIS —(shp)—>
CartoDB —(GeoJSON)—> Leaflet —(JS/JQuery/CSS)—> dynamic slippy map
This is not a scalable workflow. I am pretty sure this needs to be an integrated product. I just need to figure out where I can work to make that happen.
NB: I have collected all the slippy maps onto http://maps.burritojustice.com for your viewing pleasure.
But before you think all the other websites get the good stuff, a Burrito Justice exclusive! Here’s a GIF of one of our first efforts to align actual Sanborn maps. (Click to zoom)