Iason Jongepier

Iason Jongepier

2020 - : Tenure track docent/work leader FED-tWIN DIGHIMAPS: Digital Maps and Archives - Activating Cartographic Collections in a Digital World​

For a long time cartographic collections have been cherished as objects of great value and beauty, illustrating the evolving representation of the world, the city or the landscape. Over the past decade, the massive high-resolution digitization of historical maps, for instance in Belgium through the Cartesius-project, enabled the general public to explore map collections using easily accessible geographic search engines. Over the next years however, it’s time to move one step further: careful georeferencing and vectorization of maps, as well as the (semi-)automatic recognition of their content will allow us to link maps to other types of digital content (other maps but also textual sources and iconography). Nowadays, efforts of geo-spatialization, digitization and data-integration are still costly, time-consuming and fragmented. Several technologies – such as automatic transcription of old handwriting or automatic extraction of graphical forms from historical maps – are still in an experimental stage. However, initiatives like the European Time Machine bid, in which both the Belgian State Archives and the University of Antwerp participate, are aiming for a technological breakthrough creating the ‘Big Data of the Past’. DIGHIMAPS seeks to explore the potential of digital cartographic collections as key to unlock this new digital universe in which space enables an entirely novel way to organize, search, analyze and visualize archival data and collections. Building on existing efforts of digitization and geolocalization, DIGHIMAPS will consolidate and elaborate the available expertise in Digital Historical Geography at both the University of Antwerp and the State Archives of Belgium in research, teaching, scientific and societal services, as well as the management, preservation and dissemination of cartographic collections.

2018 - 2020: Postdoctoral researcher B-magic

Long before social media, cinema and PowerPoint presentations, images were an important means of communication. The magic lantern, or ‘laterna magica’, was a fascinating and instructive tool, which was especially popular in the 19th century. The invention was used to project transparent images onto glass slides on the walls of theatres, schools and people’s homes. Travelling showmen with lanterns on their backs also put on public lantern shows at fairs.

The B-magic project will write the as yet unwritten history of the magic lantern as a mass medium in Belgium. In doing so, it will make an essential contribution to the study of the country’s cultural history as well as to international media historiography. Check our website!

2014 - 2020: Postdoctoral researcher GIStorical Antwerp

GIStorical Antwerp is a project of the Centre for Urban History of the University of Antwerp in close cooperation with the Antwerp City Archives. The project, funded by the Hercules-Foundation and the University of Antwerp, started in September 2012. GIStorical Antwerp uses the potential of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to integrate all kind of historical data (maps, census data, iconography, address books etc. ) at the level of individual houses and households in the city of Antwerp. Check out our GIStorical Antwerp-website for latest updates, news and activities.

2009 - 2014: PhD research  

Drowned but not deserted. Interactions between social and ecological processes of estuarine landscapes after flooding.  Test-case: the Waasland polders on the west-bank of the river Scheldt (16th-19th centuries).

Supervisor: Tim Soens (University of Antwerp, Dept. History), 

Co-supervisor: Stijn Temmerman (University of Antwerp, Dept. Biology)

Abstract: Estuarine landscapes are very dynamic ecosystems which makes it very difficult to model social and ecological adaptations after catastrophic inundations. In this research project the evolution of tidal channels after historical inundations and the human re-occupation of flooded areas in the late medieval and early modern Western Scheldt estuary are used to enhance our knowledge of the long-term interactions between ecological and social processes.