Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Onomastics » Place-name research and desktop GIS

Onomastics » Place-name research and desktop GIS



Peder Gammeltoft, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen
This is the first feature in a series of how to use desktop GIS for place-name research.
With the growing pressure on all of us to be innovative and increase our digital footprint, it is worth considering if it is not worth learning something new to supplement traditional place-name research, namely GIS. GIS is an acronym for Geographical Information System and is a type of software which enables one to manage, retrieve, analyse and visualise spatial data. The typical fields of use hitherto have been within the scientific fields of geography and geology as well as public planning and management.
However, GIS also has a great potential within the field of humanities where there is a need for storing, editing, analysing, sharing, and displaying geographic information. This can be anything from showing where certain dialectal words for the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) have been recorded to showing how and where General Custer survived his last minutes in the battle of Little Big Horn.
Since place-name research – and often personal name research, too, for that matter – concern geographically locatable matter, a natural way of bringing onomastics one step further into the 21st century is to integrate GIS in place-name research.  And there is no longer any reason for not utilising this fabulous tool for onomastic research.


Odense