Mapping England’s Lake District

Ian Gregory and others from Lancaster University (UK) have applied GIS to literary studies of the English Lake District. Their Mapping the Lakes project has done an admirable job of moving beyond push-pins to some spatial analysis, as they make density maps of the sites where Thomas Gray and Samuel Taylor Coleridge visited and wrote about. Results? Differences in the patterns, with less overlap than many would have predicted. Also some interesting gaps where neither went. Could be networks of access, or vistas influenced by topography or vegetation.

These types of density surfaces always make me wish it were easier to apply “masks” or “barriers” to the analyses. Without that, we get too many false positives and false negatives. Many analyses assume a uniform distribution, that people *could* have gone anywhere across the landscape, when in reality we can’t, and we don’t.

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