Geez, folks, I've not followed this closely. Whole argument that I didn't
know was one is in my mailbox, but I haven't had time.
However it seems to me that getting townland maps online is a way good
thing, it's too important to get and keep resources on the web for
redundancy to matter, and I don't suggest waiting on the list acquires a
professional IT person complete with professional IT resources. We all
know to personally back up whatever we have on our computers or put on our
web sites, but beyond that, I wouldn't worry about it.
Or is the criticism that the material is already there. Well it is, for
extremely stiff fees! Needs to be available for free, and that is the
point of Rootsweb. Free townland maps are desperately needed online.
Hats off to the lot of you for getting it done for your counties.
I actually can appreciate what's "soul destroying" in what Barry claims he
said, but Barry certainly does not, so there you go. And you can't explain
it to him. This is a technocrat, people. Could be asperger's, but I"m
seeing that personality type dominate state and local governments. The
good news is he's doing genealogy. Atleast I think that's good news.
This sort of argument is beginning to dominate my genealogy lists! If you
think this is bad, you should see the genealogy-dna list. It's a haven for
people with undiagnosed asperger's syndrome. I'm afraid the background
in civil engineering and cartography is consistent with the possibility of
asperger's. And don't forget that our current world supports him in seeing
things the way he does. He really thinks that all good and worthwhile
people see the world his way.
He wouldn't be all that unusual in the genealogy world if he genuinely (and
incorrectly, for anyone who's wondering) believes that it is both wrong and
illegal to put basic information online for free if someone else is selling
the same information. People involved in controlling the distribution and
flow of knowledge are particularly likely to be that way; it's the times we
I'll let you all google asperger's. Not, no soul. I could have
asperger's myself. But it can come across that way.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Barry Graham" <btgraham(a)tpg.com.au>
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 12:36 AM
Subject: FER-GOLD Townlands Project and Graphics
My name is Barry Graham from Melbourne, Australia - not to be
the many other Barrys that contribute to this mailing list.
I made the "soul destroying" comment in reference to digitising the
Fermanagh townlands on Murray Lynne's KiwiCelts site.
In fact I made the comment to Murray several months ago that my convict
ancestors would rank townland digitising somewhere between solitary
confinement and the lash!!
My background is in Civil Engineering and Cartography with 25 years
industrial experience with private consultants followed by 25 years
in technical college including subjects like Cartography, Survey Drafting,
Land Information Systems, Map Computations, CAD and Computer Graphics - so
came to the project with some prior skills.
The project to create a spreadsheet covering all of Fermanagh with the
details of each occupier and land-holding has merit if only as a backup to
what is already available on the web.
It needs to be supported by a graphical database so that the individual
parcels of land can be identified.
This would have to be a continuous, seamless map base with sufficient
to show the boundaries of each land-holding.
Murray Lynne in his project to map the Administrative Boundaries of
down to Townland level uses the satellite imagery of Google Earth.
Unfortunately only a small portion of Fermanagh is covered with sharply
defined, high resolution satellite images that clearly show fences, hedges
and other lines defining land boundaries.
The satellite imagery covering the majority of Fermanagh is low resolution
and is too blurred to accurately define the boundaries of individual land
In mapping the townlands, maps are digitised as raster (bitmap) files in a
format, such as jpg, and imported into Google Earth as image overlays
have to be moved, stretched and rotated to fit the satellite image.
At the townland level a large map area can be used because there are
sufficient clues at clear points in the overlay to get a reasonable
match(roads, watercourses, visible hedges etc.).
When the overlay is in place each townland boundary is traced from the map
overlay as a closed vector graphics polygon, which after tracing often has
to be adjusted to match the satellite image.
As work proceeds each new townland polygon must be matched accurately to
the boundaries of previously digitised townlands, this procedure requires
zooming to a suitable scale and much panning to move along the boundary
Mapping townlands is difficult and time consuming enough.
To map individual land parcels the overlay would have to be at a scale
that land parcel numbers are visible and readable.
They aren't when digitising large area townland maps described above.
The scanned image overlay for each townland would have to aligned to the
satellite image and each land parcel digitised to match the overlay and
surrounding townland and parcel boundaries. The time required would be of
order of magnitude at least 10 times greater than digitising townlands
The multiple image in the link below shows how the graphical data can be
displayed in Google Earth.
1. The first image (top left) shows the townland boundary of Drumlught in
the Parish of Kinawley.
The townland boundary has been traced from a townland map imported as an
image overlay and matched to the satellite image.
2. The image at top right shows the land parcel boundaries within the
Each parcel is represented by a closed, vector polygon adjusted to match
surrounding townland and parcel boundaries. (At reasonable accuracy). The
polygons are not labelled in the process.
3. The image at bottom left shows the townland boundary only with a
Pushpin located at approx. the centre of area of each land parcel.
Note that it is not possible to determine the extent of the land parcel
boundary referenced by the Pushpin.
4. Image bottom right. Polygons and Pushpins combined. Shows label and
extent of parcel.
I don't have the knowledge to reference a parcel polygon to a spreadsheet
database as Murray has done with the Kiwicelts site but it would seem to
that a link in the spreadsheet from a land parcel should be able to
the polygon representing the parcel.
Other options include the scanning of townland images at a scale suitable
show details of the individual land parcels, gathering these together
grouped by townland and referencing each land parcel to a database showing
occupiers names. (A link to a graphic for the Curraghfad/Crockadreen
townlands was attached to an earlier post).
The problem with this method is that the source data are images drawn from
the Ask About Ireland Griffiths site which are subject to copyright if
published on a public site and the copyright on diagrams and images is
more strict than text reproduction.
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