Tag Archives: maps

Save the date: #HeritageReboot May 23

The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Heritage Foundation, City of Vancouver Archives and Heritage Vancouver will host #HeritageReboot, a fun, hands-on free public event that combines modern technology with heritage conservation.

When: Saturday, May 23, 2015 from 1pm to 4:30pm

Where: Roundhouse Community Centre, Engine 374 Pavilion, 181 Roundhouse Mews (Corner of Davie and Pacific)five-logos-1

#HeritageReboot schedule:
1 pm – Event launch followed by cake-cutting
1 pm – 4:30 pm – City of Vancouver Heritage Action Plan Open House
1:30 – 4:30 pm – Public welcome to experience and use the technology
2:45 pm – 4:15pm – Tours of Yaletown and Engine 374

The event will officially launch four initiatives that use digital technology to open up Vancouver’s heritage in new ways for everyone:

  • The City of Vancouver’s new online platform for public nominations to Vancouver’s Heritage Register
  • Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Site Finder, an interactive map showing over 2,200 sites listed on the Heritage Register. The tool is searchable, filterable and full of images and information about the sites
  • The City of Vancouver Archives’ digital rendering of the important Goad’s 1912 Fire Insurance Plan.  Newly added as a layer on VanMap, construction materials, building footprint, street names and addresses of the time are now easily discoverable.
  • Heritage Vancouver’s Historic Building Permits Database, a searchable online database of over 32,000 transcribed pre-1929 Vancouver building permits

Everyone is encouraged to unearth the past with these newly created digital tools and use the information to nominate a site to the Vancouver Heritage Register using the new online platform.

The City of Vancouver will also be having its open house on the next phase of the Heritage Action Plan there throughout the afternoon.

Free tours will also be available in the afternoon, including:

  • The Canadian Pacific Railway’s Two Yaletowns 1886-1887 and 1910-1914.  Led by historian and author of the award winning book Vancouver: A Visual HistoryBruce MacDonald.
  • City Building: Yaletown and its Neighbours in the Nineties.  Led by former City Councillor and the current Director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University Gordon Price.
  • A historic tour of Yaletown in French.  Led by the President of the Société historique francophone de la Colombie-Britannique Maurice Guibord.
  • Tours of the Engine 374 Pavilion and the engine to mark the 128th anniversary of Engine 374 pulling the first transcontinental train into Vancouver.  Led by The West Coast Railway Association.

We’ll have a detailed post about our initiative on May 21 to coincide with its public release. We hope to see you at the event on May 23.

Historical zoning maps available

We’ve made a group of zoning maps available online. These are frequently consulted by our researchers, so we’ve made them easily available to everyone.

March 1990 zoning map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.6.

March 1990 zoning map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.6.

The maps were published:

Created by the City of Vancouver Planning Department, the maps allow you to see the permitted uses of land over time. These maps are used as a first step for an environmental assessment of a site. They are also useful for those studying the history of urban planning.

Detail from March 1990 zoning map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.6.

Detail from March 1990 zoning map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.6.

Two of the maps include text explaining the zoning and its intended use.

Detail from verso of January 1998 map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.8-PD 2100.8.2.

Detail from verso of January 1998 map. Reference code PUB-: PD 2100.8-PD 2100.8.2.

Please let us know if you find these maps useful.

Map of New Westminster District – a collaboration

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.

Image of the entire conserved map

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.

The 1905 Map of New Westminster District is almost 1 metre wide and over 2 metres long. It shows District Lots and other divisions of land for all of Metro Vancouver and as far east as Hope. Continue reading

Moving Historical Geodata to the Web

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.

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

Buildings on the beach side of Beach Avenue

Earlier this year, Harry Swain of Victoria donated a photograph to us and it caused great excitement. Here it is:

image of Beach Avenue

View from the Sylvia Court Apartments, May 18, 1913. Reference code AM1376-: 2013-002.1

Continue reading

The Map and Plan Digitization Project

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve completed a project to digitize 512 maps and plans in our holdings. Here are some highlights from the project. We’ve provided links to descriptions in our database so you can click through to the full-resolution versions of the maps if you’d like to examine them in detail. Here’s the link for the map below.

Bird's Eye view detail

Panoramic view of the City of Vancouver, 1898. Detail from reference code AM1594-: MAP 547

 

The project makes these maps available to everyone quickly online, and makes them easy to re-use. It reduces damage to the oversized originals due to handling, as they no longer have to be retrieved from storage. Very light-sensitive materials, like blueprints, may be kept in the dark so they don’t fade. Continue reading

The Archives continues ‘pinning’ content to Historypin!

This isn’t the first time we’ve blogged about our Historypin page. We’ve recently taken the time, however, to add a number of new features to our Historypin Channel. In addition to over 200 new photos, we’ve added a number of site-specific moving image files from the 1920s to the 1970s!

Here is a screenshot with one of our photographs ‘pinned’ in Street View. Using the ‘Fade’ bar on the left you can fade out the archival image to see what that intersection looks like in Street View today.

One of our summer interns, Jesse Cumming, identified 200+ photos to add to our Historypin Channel. He also created a couple of unique “Tours” (click on the “Tours” tab to view). The first is called Vancouver in Motion and collects all our newly added moving image clips. The second, A 360° trip down Burrard, brings together photographs from the City of Vancouver Transportation Division, to create a tour down Burrard St. from Broadway to Hastings, showing 360° views of intersections along the way. Continue reading

Historypin update

We’ve written about our partnership with Historypin before, and the work of many of our volunteers to prepare images for pinning.

Masthead for our Historypin channel

Historypin has just rolled out customized channels. We’ve created a channel where you can find all our pinned content as well as a story feed. In the lower left corner you can find Historypin repeats, which are modern replicas of our images taken using the Historypin Smartphone App and overlaid on the older image. This one was contributed by jkeller – thanks!

We now have 523 images pinned to the Historypin map. We’d love to have you contribute stories about our images, or use them to create a Historypin Tour or Collection.

Spotlight on Volunteers – Jessica Flank

After a summer away curating a virtual exhibit, one of our volunteers is back to focus on the physical.

Jessica Flank first contacted us about volunteering while in her first year of study as a Dual MAS/MLIS candidate at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS). She was looking for an opportunity to gain some hands-on experience and began working for us as a volunteer in late January 2011 and gave us a day of her time per week until heading out for her summer co-op position at the City of Thunder Bay Archives in May.


Gaining practical experience while working on a professional degree can facilitate the transition to professional career. Professional archivists often have to deal with diverse records. Jessica is pairing what she is learning in ARST 550: Management of Audiovisual and Non-textual Archives with experience in a couple of institutions, including describing maps here at the City of Vancouver Archives. Continue reading

We’re on the Historypin Map

An exciting new interactive platform for mapping and sharing historical content is launching today, and we’ve made Vancouver a hotspot.

Historypin has been on the web in beta-test form for the past year, and, as such, won a 2011 Webby Award for Best Nonprofit/Charitable Site. Now it is launching both the upgraded platform and a mobile application. Historypin allows users to upload content and then “pin” it to a Google map. Images can be overlaid on Google Maps Street View to show then-and-now for a location.

Sample overlaid image – not Vancouver

We have our own Historypin page, where you can view the images we’ve contributed so far. One of our wonderful volunteers, Helen Lee, selected hundreds of photographs of Vancouver as seen at street level, and our colleagues at Vanmap geo-coded them so they could be pinned to the map. Historypin is busy aligning the images in Street View. We’ve tried to concentrate the images in the Downtown/Gastown area to create a hotspot of historical images. Continue reading