I wish I had the tech and the knowledge to appreciate Charlie Frye’s Historical GIS: Boston 1775. Last year he posted his work at ESRI Mapping Center and explained:
One of the projects I undertook was to create a GIS of Boston in 1775, using only maps published from that period. I eventually included some later source material of reliable historical character to flush out locations for specific or notorious events, structures, and so on. My goal was to create an inventory and therefore as complete a picture as possible of Boston’s environs in 1775. Not only that, I wanted to be able to cite every feature, making it possible to create a map that was in essence a spatial argument for what I think was in Boston in the year 1775.There’s also a discussion group on using GIS technology to illuminate the Revolutionary War.
I was able to enjoy the Harvard Map Collection’s image of William Price’s panoramic picture of Boston a few decades before the war. The Image Delivery Service page lets you zoom, pan, and (though it’s not really helpful with this view) twirl the image.
But don’t assume that the panorama Price created is entirely accurate. In New England Prospect, Peter Benes notes that Price included church towers that we know hadn’t been built yet. That’s the magic of drawing, after all.