Speaker: Elizabeth Stewart (Harrison Group Environmental Ltd)
3D-GIS, a combination of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), is a currently under-utilised digital method with the potential to provide great insight into historic landscapes and the people who once experienced them. 3D-GIS not only provides a non-invasive and accessible method of recreating landscapes altered or destroyed over time, but also the versatility and manoeuvrability to help analyse what contemporaries perceived as they stood and wandered among those landscapes. The use of 3D-GIS was demonstrated in my PhD thesis which explored English designed landscapes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These great estates spanned thousands of acres and comprised a myriad of features, including gardens, parks and working estates. Employed alongside research in many different areas, 3D-GIS provided the scope to visualise and analyse what was once seen and experienced throughout these landscapes. This was achieved using viewshed analysis, which assesses what can and cannot be seen from certain vantage points, and animation technology, which follows the paths that contemporaries likely travelled along. 3D-GIS thus provided these new sources of information to help assess and understand the personalities and perspectives of the landowners who owned and designed them. I hope to demonstrate how 3D-GIS has provided a platform to rekindle research into sixteenth- and seventeenth-century designed landscapes and opened up new lines of enquiry into the people behind their creation.
Elizabeth Stewart completed her PhD at the University of East Anglia in 2019, funded by the Digital Humanities branch of Eastern Arc Research Consortium. Her thesis analysed the visual experiences within digital recreations of English designed landscapes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A case study from her thesis was published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, with the title of “3D GIS and ‘The Royaltie Of Sight’: Recreating ‘Prospects’ and ‘Perspectives’ within an English designed landscape c.1550–1660.” Leaving academia, she now works at Harrison Group Environmental Ltd as a Data Management Technician. Her work within the geotechnical industry focuses on utilising CAD and GIS, both of which supported the research for her thesis.
IHR Seminar Series: History of Gardens and Landscapes