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GEOSTATS: Input wanted for Geo-Crosswalk Project

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  • Evans, Nathaniel
    Apologies for cross-posting Hello, My name is Nat Evans, and I am at present at the initial stages of carrying out research for the Geo-Crosswalk Project , a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2000
      Apologies for cross-posting


      My name is Nat Evans, and I am at present at the initial stages of carrying
      out research for the 'Geo-Crosswalk Project', a project, which I hope, will
      be of interest to you. Before I get to the crux of this e-mail I should
      provide a brief outline of what the project aims to achieve...

      The 'Geo-Crosswalk Project' is a collaborative project (between EDINA, the
      History Data Service and the Data Archive, with MIMAS and the Archaeology
      Data Service) investigating the feasibility of developing and providing an
      online, Z39.50 compliant, British and Irish gazetteer service, which would
      play a crucial role supporting geographic searching within the UK Higher
      Education community (and associated services).

      A gazetteer service would assist metadata creators by providing a means of
      converting geographic names to a standard spatial coding scheme. It would
      parse metadata records to identify geographic names (current and historical)
      and convert them into geographic 'footprints' (i.e. co-ordinates
      representing the location of a named place) expressed in a standard spatial
      coding scheme such as latitude and longitude or the Ordnance Survey National
      Grid. A gazetteer service would also make it possible for information
      retrieval systems to support a full range of geographic search options. It
      would provide a mechanism by which information retrieval systems could
      translate the spatial element of any query into the native spatial coding

      There will be a vast range of questions that can be asked of the gazetteer,
      with the only limit being what data is accessible and how it will be
      accessed. Following are some examples of the type of questions this service
      would be able to provide answers to:

      * Where were locksmith shops located in late 19th century Cardiff?
      * Within which county is Colchester?
      * What are the national grid co-ordinates for the Roman town of Isca
      Dumnoniorum ?
      * By what alternative names is Sgurr na Ciche in Knoydart known?
      * Which rivers run through Northumberland National Park?
      * Here is a list of current parishes in Western Scotland, tell me the
      equivalent Civil Parishes in 1850.
      * What police force areas cover SW England?
      * Through which counties does the M1 pass?
      * Here is a piece of text. Find any place names mentioned in the text.
      * What were the crime rates in the Easterhouse estate during the
      * Which ferries go to the Ardnamurchan peninsula?
      * What was Cirencester known as during the Roman period, and what was
      its extent?
      * What is the distribution of school exclusion rates within the postal
      districts of Tyne and Wear?

      My role within this project is to undertake a preliminary investigation to
      fully identify the nature, extent and needs of the user community and then
      to identify suitable data sources for populating a British and Irish
      gazetteer. Primarily this has been defined as organisations that hold
      georeferenced data sets (i.e. datasets with a geo-spatial reference such as
      an Ordnance Survey National Grid reference, a postal address, a place name,
      et cetera). This encompasses a very broad spectrum of available data, as it
      has been estimated that as much as 80% of data collected in Britain today is

      I would therefore be interested to hear from anyone who feels that they may
      be a potential constituent of the user community in terms of how they
      envisage using this sort of gazetteer service and what sort of functionality
      they would expect it to have (e.g. data storage issues, usability,
      performance, security, et cetera). I would also be interested to hear from
      potential end-users in terms of the functionality they would expect from
      such a gazetteer service. Finally any suggestions as to suitable data
      sources for populating the gazetteer would be gratefully received.

      Please could you reply off-list, unless of course you wish to begin a thread
      discussing the uses of gazetteers. I look forward to receiving your replies
      and hearing your comments.


      Nat Evans

      Geographic Information Officer (Geo-Crosswalk Project)
      The Data Archive
      University of Essex
      CO4 3SQ
      United Kingdom

      Tel: +44 (0) 1206 873934
      e-mail: nevans@...


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