The Historical GIS of Salt Lake City

An interactive geospatial study of historical, environmental and health related impacts to Salt Lake City.


     When working on projects, geographers ask themselves 5 questions when answering questions:  Who was involved?  What happened?  Where did it happen?  When did it happen? Why did it happen?  When answering these questions about historical impacts within Salt Lake City, this geospatial interface will aid in examining such inquiries.  By examining incorporated layers including demographic and socioeconomic data from present and historical records, historical Sanborn Fire Insurance maps representing building/city configurations and materials as well as the locations of historical businesses once found to utilize and dispose of dangerous chemical by-products, geographers will be able to utilize these layers to create a visual interpretation and understanding of different impacts to locations within Salt Lake City.  With the ability to expand, this geospatial interface will allow geographers the opportunity to incorporate their own datasets created in Google Earth, ArcGIS or other geospatial software, thereby opening the interface to virtually limitless possibilities for data analysis and visualization.  Through the production of detailed cartographic mash-ups, geographers will have access to a tool that will assist them in answering these questions while creating a visual interpretation of impacts, dispersals and the evoluiton of Salt Lake City.


     Through this interface, homeowners will be able to use the Historical GIS of Salt Lake City to examine a 1950 Sanborn map for the block his/her house is on.  The homeowner can examine details about the lot, the elevation and materials of any structures on the map.  Roadways, alleys and egresses are also indicated.  The homowner can also view demographics for their neighborhood to learn more about the history of the community they live in.  For some homeowners, there will be much interest in examining EPA graphics for chemical contamination.  Learning the nature and proximity of the chemical contamination, what it means to them and their community.  Also, they will be able to view what the EPA has done to respond and if and how the area continues to be monitored.


     The Historical GIS of Salt Lake City is an education tool appropriate for students to use in exploring the history of an area.  Students would be able to independently explore an array of topics and layers of information.  Students could be assigned a variety of tasks related to learning about the history of Salt Lake City, use of chemicals in urban environments, city planning and urban development and demographics.

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