Historical Agricultural Environment Search System (rough translation of 歴史的農業環境閲覧システム)
For those of you who are interested, there is a new web mapping service up showing seamless georeferenced maps of the Kantō region in Japan during the early to mid Meiji era. Overlayed on top of this are current road, river, and land use to view change. And as a added plus, a KMZ file is also available to view the full Meiji era maps in Google Earth,which ran a little slow when I tried it but was worth the wait.
Although the site is entirely in Japanese, it’s still easy enough to navigate around if you can’t read the characters.
Either choosing a location from the right hand side or just clicking on one of the places (marked by red circles) on the map opens up the mapping application – all the components are open source. If you overlay the 1997 land use data (it’s a little coarse compared to the 1880 data) you can see some of the changes.
The legend for the 1997 land use data on the map is in the FAQ – here’s a rough translation.
Left column – rice field (水田), other agriculture (その地農用地), forest (森林), waste or unused land (荒地), built up area (建物用地)
Right column – transportation (幹線交通用地), other land (その地の用地), water bodies (河川および湖沼), beach (海浜), golf course (ゴルフ場)
If anyone has a better translation let me know and I’ll update the English categories.