Bringing the Ocean to Society
6 Mar 2017
Historical maps of the coastal zone (HisGISKust)
The initiative ‘Historical Maps of the Coastal Zone (HisGISKust)’ enables digital access to historical maps (16th-20th century) with specific information about the (Belgian) coastal region and the North Sea.

Currently, more than 200 georeferenced maps are freely available for end users, in line with the Open Data-movement. Furthermore, derived products, information concerning the geometric accuracy of the maps (following the methodology of Jenny & Hurni 2011) and relevant metadata are provided as well, in compliance with international standards.

HisGISKust was initiated by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), in collaboration with several partners (CultuurbibliotheekProvince of West FlandersRenard Centre of Marine Geology, the Provincial Archive West Flanders (PAWV), the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History (KLM-MRA) and the Museum of the Zwin Region (Sincfala).

The collection includes maps from world famous cartographers from the 16th-18th century (MercatorBlaeuVisscher,…). In addition, some of the first detailed nautical charts are disclosed in HisGISKust (e.g. Waghenaer and Van Keulen). Hence, these maps may lead to a better understanding of the long-term dynamics of coastal regions, coastal change and the human impact in this region. Furthermore, all fishing maps from the Piscatorial Atlas (Olsen, 1883) were georeferenced, providing a unique insight in the distribution of historical fish stocks in the North Sea.

In the future, HisGISKust will continue to expand its collection of historical maps of the Belgian coastal zone and adjacent North Sea. Feel free to forward your ideas or suggestions. We also welcome new partners who are willing to provide maps for this initiative. Please don’t hesitate to distribute this message in your network.