Mapjunction Background and Tutorials
by Bill Warner - November 18, 2019
This tutorial gives you an overview of all the new features in the context of exploring Boston history.
Mapjunction was born way back in 1999 when I got involved with the City of Boston to make a video about the Boston as the new millenium approached. You can watch it here.
I got ever more fascinated about the history of Boston, and I heard that 2/3 of Boston was filled land. But where was the boundary? I had always wanted a way to overlay historic maps with current ones. I set out to build an online system that could allow us to aligin historic maps and display them on any browser.
To build the system, I turned to Greg Cockroft, an engineer I had worked with at the very beginning of Avid Technology, a company I started to make non-linear editing systems. Greg designed an amazing online sysem using Java applets. It delivered a tiled, high performance interactive mapping system five years before Google Maps hit the scene.
We even built tools to process an entire Bromley Atlas and make it into a single, gigantic image that you could explore with ease.
The City of Boston's planning agency was called the Boston Redevelopment Authority back in 2000. Martin Von Wyss was running the GIS office, and he approached us about making Mapjunction work in special ways for the City. We did it, and a special version of Mapjunction focused on Boston was born and was named The Boston Atlas. Now, 19 years later, the Boston Atlas lives on as part of Boston's website.
Mapjunction has undergone many changes over the years, but the basic idea is always the same: Give people a fast, fun, easy way to compare past, present and future maps.
Videos Made With Mapjunction
There is a huge project underway to move the Mass Pike and replace the elevated section of the highway. This will create a whole new neighborhood in Boston. This animation will show you all the pieces of the new project, using maps from Mapjunction.
MIT moves to Boston in 1919. This video gives you the backstory and the maps. The entire campus was paid for by one man who wished to remain anonymous. Now we know his name. It's quite a story.
For a long time, Boston had two major league teams, the Redsox in the American League and the Boston Braves in the National League. But where did the Braves play? Find out here.