Arundel puts an interactive eye on its scenic and historic roads

April 09, 2004|By Sarah Lesher | Sarah Lesher,SUN STAFF

Software for military intelligence has been put to use to keep an eye on the state of Anne Arundel County's scenic and historic roads.

The software, called Media Mapper, is a state-of-the-art precision tool developed to help not only the military, but also in the management of large farms.

Media Mapper allows wide-angle video "windshield views" of roads and audio commentary to be linked by global positioning system, or GPS, coordinates to maps and other geographic data.

Anne Arundel's Scenic and Historic Roads Program is the only one in the country to put such high-tech power to work for historic preservation, according to Sherri Marsh, an agricultural and historical planner for the county.

"I thought, `Why not drive down a road collecting wide-angle video of historic sites and scenic routes - whatever makes that road scenic or historic?' " she said.

The software links the video and audio data to historic photographs and old maps, showing how the road has evolved.

In 2001 and 2002, the Maryland Historical Society gave the county grants totaling $69,000. Media Mapper was adopted by Marsh to link video and audio descriptions of roads with geographic data, including historical maps.

The ultimate goal, is to use the data to create county regulations and codes that protect the historic and scenic attributes of the roads, said Donna Ware, county historic sites planner.

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