Charting a course to the future
Nova Scotia digital-mapping project links generations.
In Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, students and seniors are using their skills — both new and old — to reveal their community’s history one layer at a time.
The Annapolis Community Mapping Project, or Mapannapolis, pairs area residents’ historical knowledge with the Web-mapping know-how of local college students to enhance online historical maps of the region.
The intergenerational project unveils pieces of history that are then detailed and documented on historical geographic maps. (See CanadasHistory.ca/Mapannapolis.)
“Mapannapolis is a platform for communities to share their view of Annapolis County with the world,” said Heather LeBlanc, the project’s designer.
What started out as an application for a federal grant in 2012 became a continuing, collaborative project between local volunteers — many of them seniors — and students from the Centre of Geographic Sciences at Nova Scotia Community College.
“Project participants are passionate about their stories,” LeBlanc said. “Our community map-makers access the students’ specialized knowledge while sharing their community interests with them. Students consolidate their learning by in turn becoming teachers. It is a symbiotic relationship.”
The project has revealed previously unknown details about the region. For example, while digitizing old maps of the Annapolis River estuary, the team uncovered cartographic evidence of up to forty-five wharves that had disappeared over time.
History Makers is an ongoing celebration of community-based history initiatives across Canada. Mapannapolis was a finalist for the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.