Robert Cheetham, CEO and president of Azavea, spoke about the Web-based Historical Geocoder called Temporal Geocoder, that the company is developing for address-level temporal geocoding.
GISCafe Voice: Do you think this is the first time-enabled geocoder to be developed?
Robert Cheetham: There have been previous efforts to create time-based place name gazetteers. The China Historical GIS project<http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~chgis/>is a good example of a place name geocoder that has some similar ideas. There is a similar effort underway in New York City, led by the New York Public Library that is also aimed at place names. But, to our knowledge, this is the first attempt to create an address-level temporal geocoder. We hope to merge both address and place name geocoding into the same system.
GISCafe Voice: What types of technology will be employed in Temporal Geocoder’s making?
Robert Cheetham: We plan to use Leaflet, Python, Django and PostGIS. There is also some parallel work being done by a sub-project of the OpenStreetMap project and we hope to collaborate with that effort as well. We plan to release the Database Editor under an open source license in order to make it possible for other communities to build similar databases as well as to cultivate a community around this type of work.
GISCafe Voice: How will the information for the historical aspect be displayed?
Robert Cheetham: We plan to create two basic software tools, both of which will be web-based. The first will be a database editing software tool that will enable people to indicate changes in the street network as well as street name changes and aliases. This Historical Street Database Editor will be able to display, a) the current streets; b) the street grid for a specific historical reference period; and c) a historical reference map that has been scanned and georeferenced.