Using GIS to study historical and modern issues in Mongolia – Sept 30, 2:00pm EDT; 11:00am PDT; 7:00pm GMT+1

Title: Using GIS to study historical and modern issues in Mongolia (Register here)
Date: Sept 30, 2:00pm EDT; 11:00am PDT; 7:00pm GMT+1

The September Virtual Panel Series, which will be held in English, will focus on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to study historical and modern issues in Mongolia. The panel will have two speakers taking the historical and modern perspectives of the panel’s theme.

Please note that this panel session will be held on Zoom, and later uploaded to the ACMS YouTube channel. You can get the link to join the Zoom session by signing up for our mailing list via the link below: (The Zoom link will be automatically sent to your email.)

Please note that if you have already signed up for our mailing list, you will be redirected to a page with the Zoom link immediately, so be sure to save that link somewhere.


Dr. Anne-Sophie Pratte’s presentation

While maps and Geographic Information System (GIS) evoke modern technology, mapmaking practices follow centuries-long traditions of depicting space and the natural environment. How did Khalkha Mongols map their land in early modern times? And how can digital technologies inform research on historical maps? This presentation examines a series of local maps dating from the late 18th to the early 20th century that represent Khalkha localities. A combination of georeferencing techniques and archival inquiry illustrates how Mongols produced geographical information while also investigating how maps changed over time in response to the political environment.

Anne-Sophie Pratte is a postdoctoral fellow at the Social Science Research Council of Canada and a visiting scholar at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. She recently completed her doctoral degree in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies at Harvard University specializing in history. Her dissertation, “Mapping the Steppe: The Politics of Cartography in Qing Mongolia, 1780-1911,” examines the production of local maps in Khalkha Mongolia. She was affiliated with the ACMS in 2017-2018 while conducting research at the National Archives and the National Library of Mongolia.

Mr. Benjamin Meader’s presentation

The word “cartography” summons images of exploration, measurement, and meticulous drafting; and until the end of the 20th century, this was indeed the way most maps were created. But what does it mean to be a “modern” cartographer? Hasn’t the world already been mapped? The answer is more involved than a simple yes or no. The digital age has brought about a proliferation of spatial data and visualization tools that allow us to dig deeper into geographic phenomena. The desk of a modern cartographer is somewhere between a photographer’s darkroom and a child’s sandbox—raw data must be carefully handled before it develops into sensible information, but it is also easy to push around. With these new powers comes the responsibility to present modern maps that are equal parts truthful, engaging, and insightful.

Ben Meader is the Director of Rhumb Line Maps, a GIS and cartography consulting firm in the state of Maine. His company focuses on municipal/urban planning, environmental consulting, and social science research support for academics. In the fall of 2013, Ben was awarded a Library Fellowship to bring geospatial technology and educational support to ACMS. During his stay, he created a geographic livestock census database, taught a 3-week GIS and cartography class, assisted Ariell Ahearn in her doctoral work in Bayankhongor, and worked with the Asia Foundation on its khoroo infrastructure inventory for Ulaanbaatar. He’s made several maps of Mongolia in the intervening years, and hopes to get the opportunity to return sometime soon.

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