The mapping tools

18 January 2021

This has been a great decade for map lovers. The new mapping technologies are remarkable, and evolving rapidly.

I developed the parklotproject almost a decade ago using freeware tools easily accessible on the web at that time. I began with Google's Fusion Table,s which read complex tables of data — easily created online or imported from Excel files — and displayed them overlaid atop a Google Map, layered one on top of the other. Fusion Tables had some serious limitations but the PARK LOT PROJECT interactive map showed how far this tool could be pushed using html, CSS style sheets, and some creative programming.

When Google "turned down" Fusion Tables in December 2019 the parklotproject map was partially disabled until I was able to convert all the tables into KML files. I am very happy to have the entire map functioning again.

My thanks to Kjell Scharning, a mapping enthusiast in Norway, who several years ago fine-tuned his polygon-creation and editing tools to simplify my mapping of the park lots. You can see his polygon-drawing tool here and his editing tool here.

I also found some of the Google Earth drawing and organizational tools extremely useful.

For design, html-editing and content management I use Adobe's Dreamweaver. For graphics work I use Adobe's Fireworks, Photoshop or Illustrator, depending on the task at hand.

Colour-coding of the park lots and township lots

Originally I colour-coded the lot rectangles according to the family who ended up owning them. (e.g. Green lots through the centre of the map represented the Baldwin family estate. Other colours were assigned to the Denison, Playter, and Ashbridge families, all of whom owned property throughout the Township of York.)

More recently I decided it would be more useful to colour-code based on the professional category of the original grantees: blue indicates the owners were military men, pink for government officials, and green for yeomen and tradesmen (carpenters, farmers, millers, etc.) Orange is used for clergy reserves, and yellow for government reserves. Grey is used for lots that have no grant or biographical information added.

Wish list

Visitors are asking for a SEARCH function to locate a particular name or lot location.

Also mentioned is a mouse-over function that will pop up the title of each lot or marker as you roll over it.

These are excellent suggestions and I would love to add such features to the map some time in the future. I would be grateful for suggestions from programmers on how to accomplish this.


The TORONTO PARK LOT PROJECT — an exploration of the earliest days of the TOWN OF YORK, founded in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Copyright © Wendy Smith 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021.

parklotproject.com