General Land Office Records (GLO) are the first federal surveys conducted in each state. They are used today to document the earliest verifiable recordings of the historic landscape, early cultural features, and the locations of vegetation types. These surveys have proven to be of immeasurable benefit to resource managers, archaeologists, restoration professionals, and historians. This study focused on converting GLO records for Mississippi, with an emphasis on capturing information about the type and characteristic of the witness trees used during the survey process.
The technical aspect of this study focused on how to best utilize optical character recognition (OCR) and geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze GLO vegetative records. OCR refers to the branch of computer science that involves translation of optically scanned images into forms such as ASCII codes that a computer can manipulate. The primary use of GIS in this project was to locate the converted records in the landscape.
This research was made possible through Grant MT-2210-04-NC-04 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).