SOLVE magazine Issue 03 2021 - Page 30

DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP

THE PAST MAPPED FOR THE PRESENT

Crowdsourcing has helped recover placename histories lost from maps over the past century .

W hen you look at an old map you see a maze of roads , rail lines , paths , cities , towns , villages , forests , moors , farmland … in essence , an area ’ s natural and man-made geography . What you don ’ t see is the human story , the placename histories and the vast wealth of local knowledge ; for example , the meaning of names and how they might depict or describe a landscape , a forgotten industry , traditions , customs or a distinct community .

But if a map was populated with this data , it would not just be a chart that depicts ‘ what ’ and ‘ where ’, but also an archive of knowledge about ‘ who ’ and ‘ why ’; how our changing landscapes and streetscapes shape our understanding of who we
30
ISSUE 03 / 2021