What are the Booth maps?
LSE Library houses the incredible Charles Booth inquiry, a monumental survey of London which was carried out at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Booth's papers are one of our most requested and valuable collections, ever-popular with audiences who are aware of the incredible colour coded maps, and keen to explore the rich notebooks for stories. Recently we worked with Thames and Hudson to release a book based on the collection, showing the maps in all their glory. In 2016 we also revamped our Booth website updating it with new content to help people make the most of Booth online.
Now, in partnership with Layers of London, we are seeking help from citizen scientists the world over to help us unpick Booth's poverty maps and their colours.
What is the crowd-sourcing application?
The maps remain visually arresting and their demarcation of London's wealth and poverty still intrigues people today. We want your help to identify the different colours at a street-by-street level. This will help us see which streets are red, purple, pink, yellow, black or blue and will give us a set of data which doesn't currently exist. We can then use this dataset to enhance our current website, and release the data openly for others to use.
Why do we need to do this?
The popularity of Booth's inquiry seems little dimmed despite it being well over a century since he completed it. We want to try and tap into some of this enthusiasm and let people engage with Booth's old maps to create something new. Unlocking these data will help us to do that and will lead to both better understanding of the maps and lead to better usages of the information therein. We are keen to open up our collections in new ways and this will help us to do that.
How you can get involved
A full how-to guide will be coming next week.