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Where are all the bodies?

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Yo, map geeks!, (especially Pittsburgh history map geeks) here’s a little something to keep you rooted to your computer for hours on end.

I apologize to your loved ones ahead of time if you refuse to come to the dinnertable tonight or refuse to go to bed or call in sick to work because you can’t stop moving this map around and checking out its time lines (From 1835 to today). Drag the time line on a particular place that interests you to really freak out.

Especially curious are the cemeteries on early maps and the houses and schools on the same land later. Were all those bodies moved, I wonder. After a hundred years or more, would someone know? I'll have to find this out.

For this dandy new tool, you can thank Chris Olsen, a 32-year-old geographer in California whose Pittsburgh connection is that he and his wife, Lorraine, from New Brighton, got married at Heinz Chapel.

He works for Esri, a leading GIS software company, and created this moveable, zoomable map, complete with points of interest, by cutting out old paper ones that he had scanned from the University of Pittsburgh.

Lucky me, I’ve gotten to spend lots of time studying it so I could interview him for a story about his project which, I think, is running Monday. If you check out the map and want to add comments for use in my story, I’d be happy to consider your comments. Send them by Friday afternoon.

Happy exploring.

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