Pleiades Achieves First Major Development Milestone

The staff of the Ancient World Mapping Center’s Pleiades Project is pleased to report that it has met its “Geo Prime” milestone, effective 2 October 2006.

The “Geo Prime” milestone was structured to demonstrate, in a modified version of the Plone Content Management System, basic geographic capabilities needed by the Project. A demonstration version is running on a server supplied by the Stoa Consortium: The custom software we have developed in order to add these capabilities is being released to the public simultaneously under the rubric “Pleiades Software Release 0.6”

Pleiades is an international research network and associated web portal and content management system devoted to the study of ancient geography. Funding for the creation of this software was provided by a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.

Achieving this milestone required more than software development. We also made it our goal to prepare and demonstrate rudimentary, Plone-ready versions of the point features cataloged by the American Philological Association’s Classical Atlas Project for presentation in “Map 65 – Lycia-Pisidia” of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (R. Talbert, ed., Princeton, 2000). Together with “unlocated” and “false” toponyms reported in the associated Directory, compiled together with the map by C. Foss and S. Mitchell, this dataset numbers over 300 discrete geographic entities and over 300 historic geographic names. The Atlas Project’s data have been reformatted as an XML gazetteer, loosely based on the Gazetteer Content Standard outlined by the Alexandria Digital Library Project, wherein they have been united with geographic coordinates created from the compilation map via on-screen digitization in a Geographic Information System (GIS).

We have imported the contents of the gazetteer files into Plone, where they now reside as “content objects,” structured according to the dictates of our custom GeographicEntityLite software product. As such, they can be mapped, modified, subjected to editorial workflow and exported to other formats as provided by the Plone infrastructure and our own custom geospatial products (PleiadesGeocoder and PleiadesOpenLayers).

This milestone and associated software release is the first of many envisioned for the two-year startup phase of the Project. As such, it represents only an initial installment in terms of required capabilities and features. A brief discussion of what the software currently does and does not do is appended to this announcement. Future milestones may be consulted via the Project Roadmap.

About Tom Elliott

Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
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