13 September 2017

[map] A Comparison Graphic: Salem, Oregon 1956 vs Salem, Oregon 2017

As a way of exploring GIMP and telling a story I've always wanted to (and indeed, fascinates me) I created a graphic giving one an idea of how much the capital city of Oregon, Salem, has grown territorially over the past sixty years. My sources are the city limits as defined by Google maps (close enough for my level of work) and the city limits as shown in the inset of the 1956 State official map I showed off a few entries back.

Here's what I came up with.

I am as impatient a cartographer as I am an any other mode of artist, so this was totally eyeballed. But GIMP allows me fine enough control that I was able to pretty much nail the aspects.

What I'd like to do is figure out how to realistically estimate areas of irregularly-sized objects. I can get the modern square-mileage of any town easily enough; the historical data is much more obscure. The magic beans for that, I not yet have and not know how to find.

I think a poster containing nothing but silhouettes of Oregon cities, arranged adjacent to each other and at the same scale for gut-level comparison of territorial sizes, would be devilishly interesting. I know I've always wanted to see such a thing. I'd stare at it for hours.

NB: After posting this I realized there was a considerable swath of territory that I had included in the incorporated area which was on the southwest side of the city, east of the southward bend in the river and west of the actual city boundary, at the western edge of Minto-Brown Island Park. This error has been corrected.

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