Sunday 14 November 2010

A Vision of Britain Through Time

I've been doing some work recently which involves the analysis of population change in England from 1801 to 2009. The data for this has come from the Census (which goes back to 1801) and mid-year population estimates (for 2009). The data itself has been sourced from a wonderful website called A vision of Britain through time, based at the University of Portsmouth. It's an innovative and pretty comprehensive exercise in historical stats and historical GIS.

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can enter a place name to find a place, you can look at various landcover maps, you can look at historical maps, Census reports and even travel writing by such distinguished contributors as Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe, Celia Fiennes and the wonderfully named Gerald of Wales.

Samuel Johnson's writing is from his 'A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland' and is both shocking and funny seen from today's perspective. He very much disapproves of the 'Highland manners' and he calls Loch Ness 'a very remarkable diffusion of water without islands'.

The maps (as above) are really interesting and you can, for example, take a look at your area in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as look at the present day OpenStreetMap version.

To sum up, lots to look and and worth a look.