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Early Animated Cartography

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New technology (Google Video) presents old technology . . . .

Above is a short version of Allan Schmidt’s movie of the urban expansion of Lansing, Michigan. This film was produced in 1967, using SYMAP, an early computerized mapping system. “Every property transaction from 1850 to 1965 was coded by square-mile section of the Public Land Survey System. To produce the SYMAP output, a thematic attribute was generated of the percent of land developed during each five year period. Each annual SYMAP output formed a square about two feet by two feet. Hung in front of a movie camera, a set of frames were photographed.”

More about this and other digital ampping technologies is available in an upcoming book from ESRI Press entitled Charting the Unknown: How Computer Mapping at Harvard Became GIS.

A longer version of the above movie includes a slower sequence at the start. Also available is a 19 minute video in which ESRI recognizes the achievement (but which I couldn’t get the sound to work).

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