We have a very large and rare 1905 map in our holdings that was dirty and falling apart. Last year, we collaborated with the Land Title & Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) and the BC Archives to conserve and digitize it. This is the story of why that conservation treatment happened and how it was done.
Low-resolution version of Map of New Westminster District, 1905. Reference code AM1594-: MAP 138. A high-resolution version is available from our online search.
In nearly every case, “historical geodata” means a paper map. Digitizing that map gives us an image of a paper map. While an image can be useful, historical maps turned into actionable data are much more useful. Moving geodata from paper to electronic data can be complicated and involve many actions, including:
Describe the map accurately, preferably using standard terms
Digitize the map
Georectify the digitized image (associate points in the image with their geocoordinates, for example, so that the image can be positioned on OpenStreetmap or Google Maps exactly where it belongs)
Extract image features—such as polygons, text, or contour lines—as digital layers
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, flagship building of the New York Public Library. Photographer Sue Bigelow.
From November 5-7, 2014, I attended a meeting of 54 people from three continents at the New York Public Library called Moving Historical Geodata to the Web. This meeting, including expenses for attendees, was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We were the only archives and the only Canadian institution represented. Continue reading →
On January 1st, the copyright expired for some of our holdings: they are now in the public domain in Canada. Digital materials are no longer restricted to being viewed only at the Archives, but are available online to all. Here’s a quick look at some of the digital objects that have become easier to view and re-use.
Tattooed man pulling on rope, by Clixby Watson, 1950s. Reference code AM1562-: 72-633
Charles “Clixby” Watson was a British painter and illustrator. We don’t know if this was a work of imagination or modelled from life or why this was created. Continue reading →
Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve recently completed a project to digitize over eight thousand images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds that you can easily view and re-use. In addition, we’ve digitized another 874 images that are under copyright to other parties, but which can be viewed at the Archives. The dates range from 1914 to 1980.
Man and woman eating foot-long hotdogs from P.N.E. Gayway concession stand, 1953. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2219.
These photographs were either created for the P.N.E. or collected by the P.N.E. staff. They document a wide variety of activities at the fair, including rides, displays, competitions and performances.
Women on Sky Glider chair lift, 1971. Photographer Bob Tipple. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6891.
The Archives will be closed from noon December 24 to 9am Monday, January 5.
Card from Charles Marega fonds, AM1416.
This Christmas card was created by the sculptor Charles Marega, who created many sculptures and memorials in Vancouver including the lions at the Lions Gate Bridge. The card is part of a file called “sketches and drawings” in the Charles Marega fonds.
The newest Merging Time exhibit is now on display in the City of Vancouver Archives’ gallery. Since its initial showing at the Archives three years ago, this annual photography exhibit has become an attraction for both historians and photographers alike. This year, the exhibit features 16 new digital interpretations of our scanned archival photographs.
The creators of this year’s Merging Time show: Langara’s Professional Photo-Imaging Class of 2015.
John Atkin and Michael Kluckner have curated two new “Through the Lens” shows for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s digital Planetarium Star Theatre. Using historic photographs from the early 20th century paired with contemporary shots of the same locations, these “indoor” digital walking tours allow you to experience the changes that have occurred in our city over the past 100 years.
The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163
The historic images come primarily from the Archives’ W. J. Moore panorama negatives, which we’ve featured here before. Remarkably, the Space Centre uses the same high-resolution JPG images that you can download from our online search and projects them to fill the dome of the Star Theatre. They are matched with stunning modern panoramas and other audiovisual elements to produce two unique shows. This year, there will also be some historic aerial views which, on the planetarium dome, promise to provide a unique, if dizzying, perspective on the city.
Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28
This fall, the City of Vancouver Archives will present its fifth annual screening “Vancouver – A Progressive City!” at the Vancity Theatre. In recent years, our screenings have been very popular. So, for the first time this November, we will be showing multiple screenings.
In collaboration with local historian Michael Kluckner, we will be presenting new material that focuses on Vancouver from the 1930s-1960s. There will be selections from a wide range of newsreels, home movies, industrial and promotional films.
Flight attendant passing a film to a man at the airport. 1946. Reference code: AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-2349. (Note: This photograph has been altered for promotional purposes.)
Michael Kluckner will also provide historical commentary with emphasis on Vancouver’s workforce, celebrations, and the city’s commerce, heritage and culture. Some of this year’s archival highlights will include the construction of the Lions Gate Bridge, early milk delivery service, the Grey Cup and Shriners parades, and television spots reporting on the community. The screening will also feature a special cameo appearance of Vancouver’s first city archivist, Major J.S. Matthews. Continue reading →