Keith Lilley (Queens University Belfast) Digital mappings of a late-medieval city: (re)presenting urban experience through texts, images and spatial technologies – project with Paul Vetch (Kings College London) & Catherine Clarke (Swansea University)

Project on Mapping Medieval Chester (AHRC funded) –adopting technology for a literal mapping out of the medieval urban landscape. Interest in engaging with other ways of how Chester was experienced and represented at the time - mainly through textual descriptions of the landscape written in the Middle Ages; pulling together different mappings – literary, textual, metaphorical, visual, Medieval – using spatial technologies.

Textual mappings – range of texts from different perspectives, often written in different languages (Latin, Welsh); project wanted to make them more widely available to an academic audience. Indexing through topography was used to make these a more interactive source (e.g. can navigate through the text by certain place names etc). Wanted to present this through a web-browser context, and link the texts to maps.

Visual mappings – creating a GIS of Medieval Chester (focusing on what the urban landscape looked like in the 1500s). Produced downloadable maps that could be printed out in pdf, but also an interactive digital map resource, using distributed or web GIS.

Started with Ordnance Survey 1500 plan (most accurate and earliest cartography) – contains topographical information, many features date back to Middle Ages; can use such historical maps to map out the Medieval landscape in a more literal way. Went out with GPS in key locations, used for geo-rectification. Digitised certain features using GIS – different layers on the map derived from cartographic sources.

Functional map, although, Keith suggested, perhaps unattractive as a cartographic representation of Chester.

Web resource – includes pdfs of maps, free resource for people. Wanted to use web GIS too – map server used to link maps and texts (so can navigate from the web GIS maps, to the textual resources, as well as the other way round). Begins to open up how these authors perceive the city.

Saw this as a pilot project; want to move on to use different technologies to open up the maps to a broader audience, enhancement of web resource, audio files, QR etc.