Living in an era where technology dominates, where “time is money” and “space is a luxury” people start to think about methods to make their life simpler with the help of innovative tools in order to organize their work better, to store the amount of information in a minimized way and to have access to it faster and easier. Or, to say in a word, to digitize the information.
This digitization is reflected in many fields, such as humanities, history, architecture or biology, and in many cases, it has a description of the place on Earth that is related to. This is called “georeference” and it is possible thanks to Roger Tomlinson and his Geographic Information System, with which are created the well known digital maps.
One of the tools based of GIS to create such map is described in the paper MapServer for Swedish Language Technology. That is MapServer, a platform designed to work at the con’s of the mother-source of the digital map, Google Maps. This was created by The Swedish Language Bank, a research unit which his main purpose was to improve the database of written natural language texts by associate with the names of places existing in the text a geographic coordinate. With the help of Named Entity Recognizer, the names from the texts will be all detected and the MapServer application will build a map based on these places. In this way the reader will have a visual perception and the text will be much understandable.
According to the paper Computing Place: The Case of City Nature, another way to use GIS to obtain a digital map is by the help of „City nature”, a project which deals with the idea of having an evidence about any kind of nature existing in or near the cities, in any form, either parks, natural areas conserved as environmental resources or simply open space area designed for recreating yourself . The study has been made in 34 U.S. cities and it has been called „Naturehoods”, in free translation, the nature from the neighborhood.
One interesting project which goal is to retrace the route of Homer’s journey around Greece in the text of Iliad is Mapping the Homer’s Catalogue of Ships present in the paper with the same name. The list of Homer’s places is confronted with the whole database of all the ancient names and places given by Pleiades, an online storage of this kind of ancient information and after that, thanks to the Neatline tool is being created a map with these places to illustrate the Homer’s narration.
Although the tool from the this last text is not based on GIS, like in the other two, this technique intervenes where is crucial: at the moment when it has been found a place in the text of Homer that doesn’t match the database of Pleides the itinerary is restored by the help of GIS analysis and in this way the whole poem become continuous and every place named will have attached information regarding ancient history.
Those three texts use the mapping process, the most common way to represent any kind of information in a geographical manner in real-time. With the help of different tools it will be obtained additional information about the study in case depending on the intended purpose.
With this kind of technological tools described above and many other ways to manage the huge information that we have at our disposal, it will be not a surprise if the Al Gore’s Digital Earth will be much closer as it was expected and GIS will be the main character to make from this story a fact.