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In the early 1800s, you could walk the city of Baltimore in an evening. Thanks to researchers from UMBC, who have created a 3-D digital model of Baltimore circa 1815, you can see an approximation of what that walk would have looked like—building-by-building, block-by-block.
If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were looking at scenes from a video game.
Time - Dan - Bailey - Director - UMBC
"We get that all the time," said Dan Bailey, director of the UMBC Imaging Research Center's Visualizing Early Baltimore project and a professor in UMBC's Department of Visual Arts. But with video game maps, "there's not a lot of accuracy there."
Contrast that with the Imaging Research Center's map, which was commissioned for a 2014 exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society in honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore, fought in Sept. 1814.
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Clicking through the map, available at earlybaltimore.org (note: Google Chrome is required), you'll find old landmarks like the Holliday Street Theatre, where the Star-Spangled Banner was first performed, as well as still-standing structures like Fort McHenry. If you live in Federal Hill or Fells Point, you might even be able to locate your house.
The 2.5 billion pixel image, which took a computer a month to render, was the result of an arduous two-year process, involving consultations with local experts and scholars as well as extensive studies of early maps and paintings, said Bailey.
And that's just the beginning.
What started as a museum exhibit has morphed into an ongoing project to fully map out early 19th-century Baltimore, said Bailey, who presented the project at a recent meeting of MaptimeBmore, a monthly get-together for local cartographers and mapping enthusiasts sponsored by Baltimore-based software company Fearless Solutions.
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One goal is to add geographical coordinates and other spatial information to the map in order to make it...
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