From PDF to CSV: Translating the INEGI Historical Statistics into a Usable and Shareable Archive, with Maps

AHA Session 79
Friday, January 4, 2019: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Grant Park Parlor (Palmer House Hilton, Sixth Floor)
Juliette Levy, University of California, Riverside
Data Management for Historians
Juliette Levy, University of California, Riverside
Historical Databases and ArcGIS
Michael Bess, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
The Audience

Session Abstract

Our practicum has two members – two historians at two different institutions (one in Mexico and one in California) who have worked collaboratively with one technical director in Mexico on a digital visualization project of Mexican historical statistics, with applications that allow users to select, visualize, and easily present different datasets via interactive media.

As part of our project we have digitized the public historical data of the Mexican National Statistics Institute. This data is currently available in pdf only – on a platform that is not optimized for research or for mobile use. Additionally we have been digitizing historical maps of Mexico. A third part of the project connects the historical data with the maps to generate dynamic visualizations of change through time that are visible in detail on a desktop unit, and also on mobile devices to create interactive experiences in the public sphere.

Our project creates unique databases of historical data and also creates a platform where this database will be accessible and downloadable. This project generates original data visualizations that render data and maps visually and dynamically. In our presentation we want to share some of our experience and consideration about digitizing large data sets, working with public institutions and organizing a work-flow, as well as inviting participants to create a dataset of their own and visualize it using ArcGis or other available mapping resources.

The goal of our project is to make all of this data available to the public for free, and our intention with this practicum is to present our process and introduce the database so that other historians and digital humanists may participate in sharing their historical data and contribute to making it more user-friendly.

Practicum organization:

Levy and Bess will demonstrate the applications and its database, providing hands-on participation for attendees with historical geographic information systems (GIS).

  • Attendees will learn about the use of ArcGIS Online for historians with a brief overview of StoryMap tools used to create visual narratives.
  • Attendees will be able to view and create their own historical spyglass map, which blends satellite images with historical maps to make interactive applications.
  • Attendees will also be able to review our digital archive of historical data on the Mexican economy and demographics from the 19th and 20th centuries.
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