Back to the Basics: a Solid Foundation

Sep 10 2009

To illustrate the architectural work of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the visualization of Washington originally centered on the US Capitol in the early 1800s.  In spite of productive research work on this location and time period, we learned how little information was available and the great interest that existed in our effort.  It is now clear that we should go back to the beginning, start over, and create a solid GIS data foundation of the entire 1790 District of Columbia that can present any type of information: terrain, land cover, land use, buildings, roads, etc.

To this end, we hired a GIS specialist, Lindsay Schroader, who can begin the arduous task of bringing together many disparate elements and begin to create as accurate a map as possible of early DC.  It’s clear that she is up to the challenge and has the patience and thoroughness required.  She will be working with consulting help from Peter Chirico of the USGS, who has vast experience with GIS techniques and who has also created an accurate terrain model of DC in the 1880s.

One of Schroader’s first steps is to incorporate all of Donald Hawkins’ research and maps (red) into Peter Chirico’s 1880s model (green).

Hawkins' data incorporated with Chirico's

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