Historic Maps from Bermuda's First 100 Years of Settlement: GIS and Open Source Software Analysis


Student Authors:

Ruiwen Fu '18, Gettysburg College

Jingyi Liu '18, Gettysburg College

Document Type


Publication Date



Computer Science


Historic maps are important primary documents and increasingly digital technology is helping researchers gain insights to the past. This project evaluated the accuracy of five maps made in Bermuda’s first hundred years of settlement and the benefits of open source software. GIS and GRI’s Map Comparator tool was used to georectify, digitize, and measure displacement angles and lengths from the historic maps to the current coastline of Bermuda. The results demonstrate that the interactive web browser tool is ideally suited for a range of users, and along with GIS, provided quantitative measurements to determine that Europeans had great surveying and mapping skills, as displayed in Norwood’s 1622 map. No significant changes in accuracy occur for the next 100 years. Future maps added details to the coastline and recognized a few more individual islands, but mapped no additional information to the surrounding coral reefs.


Original version available online at https://thepgs.org/Spring-2017

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