Resource: Using Neatline with Historical Maps

Out of the box, Neatline (our recently-released framework for building geotemporal exhibits) can be used to create geo-temporal exhibits based on “modern-geography” base-layers – OpenStreetMap, Google satellite and street maps, and a collection of beautiful, stylized layers from Stamen Design. For historical and literary projects, though, one of Neatline’s most powerful features is its deep integration with Geoserver, an open-source geospatial server that can pipe georeferenced historical maps directly into Neatline exhibits. For some examples of this, check outthese four demo exhibits built on Civil War battle maps by Jedediah Hotchkiss.

Geoserver is a pretty complex piece of software, and the process of assigning geographic coordinates to static image files (called “georeferencing” or “georectifying”) can be a bit tricky at first. This is the first post in a three-part series that will walk through the entire process of rectifying a historical map using ArcMap, post-processing the image, uploading it to Geoserver, and importing the final web map service into a Neatline exhibit.