DISCLOSURE OF HISTORICAL SPATIAL AND STATISTICAL DATA OF DISTRICTS IN CZECHIA IN A GIS ENVIRONMENT
This article presents a methodology for the creation and reconstruction of historical borders of chosen spatial units, especially political and judicial districts in Czechia for the specific years of population censuses within a GIS environment. Since an ethnic, language, demographic, social and cultural composition of a population is one of the main features of national and regional identity, the main objective of the article is to introduce a new method for the creation of spatial-statistical databases which will make these historical data sources accessible to both experts and the public for general use. For this purpose, district borders from 1921, 1930, (1947), 1950, 1961, 1970, 1991, 2001 and 2011, which represent the years of the population censuses in Czechia, were digitized. Our method is based mainly on historical maps, which correspond with the censuses’ statistical datasets. The proposed methodology for the creation of GIS layers (digitalization, geo-referencing, vectorization, accuracy assessment, and spatial identification), their connection with censuses’ statistical data (creation of spatial codes), metadata creation, and web publication is described in this article along with examples of some of the difficulties encountered during the process. We also bring attention to several case studies of problematic areas where the reconstruction of borders was particularly complicated. Finally, spatial and statistical data in the format of ESRI shapefile and ESRI Geodatabase offer possibilities for retrospective analyses of quantitative data to current researchers from a range of scientific disciplines. Files in both formats are publicly available at www.historickygis.cz.