As a GIS novice I began with some trepidation, but soon found that the user interface of mapping software has come on leaps and bounds since my early flirting with such programmes as an undergraduate. After some research and trials; from the simple - Google map enabled online services such as Quik Maps - to the complex - expensive GIS software such as ArcView - I settled on the new offering from ESRI ArcGIS Online.
The information I wanted to represent graphically on the map highlighted the chains of communication of the Storm Tide Warning Service as operational in the UK in 1963. I wanted to show the process from the gathering of data through to the issuance of a warning for the vulnerable community of Canvey Island. Below is the result of my efforts:
|The Storm Tide Warning Service, 1963. © Alexander Hall.|
I would encourage anyone interested in using digital maps in their work to have a play on the ArcGIS Online software; an editable version of my map is here. Such maps can really add depth and detail to a historical narrative, helping the reader to visualise spatial data. Further many modern software packages can also include a temporal dimension allowing you to represent changes to a service, system, or statistics over time.
If you have any experiences, tips, examples etc for a novice just stepping into the world of digital mapping please leave them in the comments box below.