China Historical Geographic Information System, Version 2.0 Released (Nov 2003)
CHGIS Releases Version 2.0 - Chinese Historical Geography Database
20 Nov 2003 - The China Historical Geographic Information System (CHGIS) project announces the release of Version 2.0, available in CD-ROM format ($7.50) or by download free of charge from the CHGIS website. The new publication includes: time-series geographic datasets for the years 222 BCE to 1911 CE (covering Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu), revised time-slice datasets for all of the Qing empire as of 1820 CE, and new time-slice datasets for seven provinces as of 1911 CE (Shaanxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Jiangsu). Further coverages will be released as they are completed.
The time-series data is supported by source notes that provide citations and quotes from the primary and secondary sources used in constructing the datasets, as well as commentaries explaining the rationale for historical determinations of location and duration of the historical places included in the database. The new data supercedes in accuracy and detail the eight volume Historical Atlas of China (Zhongguo lishi ditu ji), and provides the most authoritative representation to date of China's historical administrative geography.
The CHGIS Version 2.0 – Time Series contains 45 layers of data covering: Prefecture Capitals, County Capitals, Towns and Villages, County Boundaries, Prefectural Boundaries, Province Boundaries, Rivers, Lakes, Historical Coastline, Topographic Background Images, administrative hierarchy table, source notes, and numerous other GIS layers. These datasets, and software for viewing them, are also available for free download from the CHGIS website, and can be searched online using the CHGIS search engine. As new time-series data sets and time-slice data for other regions are finished they will be made available through the CHGIS website.
GIS is a system for digitizing, saving, searching, analyzing and representing geographic information. The CHGIS datasets contain historical placenames and spatial representations that enable the user to browse the historical places as digital maps. For example, by opening a dataset of County Capitals, the information would be shown as a set of points distributed across the territory of China, and each of the names (or other attribute information) associated with those points can be shown as a label, or viewed in an attribute table. Similarly, rivers are represented as line features in the GIS, and administrative divisions are represented as polygons. GIS software, such as ArcView and MapInfo, have extensive query, analysis, and editing tools which allow users to zoom in to any level of resolution, and to manipulate spatial features or add new data. GIS layers can be overlayed with each other and numerous other data sources, such as satellite remote sensing data, aerial photos, or scanned vector maps.
CHGIS Project Background
The CHGIS Project, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, has established a database of historical administrative units for different periods in Chinese History, and will also provide a base GIS platform for researchers to use for spatial analysis, temporal statistical modeling, and representation of selected historical units as digital maps.
The participating institutions (Fudan University, Harvard Yenching Institute, Griffith University, and Peking University) have joined together to form CHGIS with the idea of creating a new digital product for free distribution to scholars without restriction. We have done this so that there will be at least one freely available GIS platform for use in teaching, research, and publications which scholars and educators can easily obtain and may use for research, teaching, and publication. The objective is to create a flexible tool that can be used to investigate any sort of geographically specific data related to China.
CHGIS users may obtain the data either by download from designated CHGIS websites, or on CD-ROM. Both the website and CD-ROM will provide an account of the project and its development, the current CHGIS datasets, licensing information, and examples of how the data may be used.
For more information or to download CHGIS Version 2.0, please visit the project website.
China Historical GIS
Vanserg Hall Suite 20, 25 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A.
To order the CD-ROM please contact:
Cheng & Tsui Company
25 West Street, Boston, MA 02111
Lex Berman, CHGIS
Harvard Yenching Institute
20 Vanserg Hall, 25 Francis Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
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