A Review: Rhino What You did Last Summer, by Paul Howard (2009)


Howard, Paul (2009). Rhino What You did Last Summer, Penguin Ireland

In this blog, I will discuss the emergence of modern Ireland and look at how Paul Howard satirizes Americanisation, celebrity, designer and consumer culture amongst the socially privileged D4 materialists in the novel Rhino What You did Last Summer.


Contemporary Ireland is certainly associated with the Celtic Tiger, an experience of economic boom from 1990 – 2007; however Ireland had already experienced some economic growth with social and cultural change since the 1960s. The introduction of television to Ireland in 1961 was marked as a “key instrument of modernisation”, [1] and revolutionised advertising which can be linked to the emergence of “the creation of a consumer society in Ireland”.[2] It also allowed for avenues of openness to challenge social practices and cultural discourses that had been learned in school and from the Catholic Church. EU investment and tax incentives to multi-nationals also contributed to economic growth and by 1990 Irish society was well-groomed for an introduction to globalisation and cultural modernity. The advances in technology and communications made it possible and the profitable housing development boom made it appear affordable for Irish society to embrace Americanisation and a celebrity, designer and consumer culture even if it had to be on the basis of buy now – pay later.

The book opens with the introduction of Howard’s main character Ross O’ Carroll-Kelly, the son of a property developer from Dublin’s Southside who was sacked as the International Rugby coach for Andorra due to trying “to dip his wick where it shouldn’t have been dipped . . . [i.e.] the boss’s wife” (p.38). He catches a plane to L.A., after he found out that his wife’s best friend whom he also slept with, was actually his half sister (pp. 1-5) and then decides he needs “to see his own daughter and find out if there’s still a chance with Sorcha” his ex-wife (pp.2-3) who is now in Los Angeles attached to Cillian, a “senior advisor in international risk assessment” (p.25). The portrayal of Ross as a narcissistic, womanising socialite armed with his “old man’s credit cord” (p.3) assists Howard to use the theme of analogy of the socially constructed hegemony and cronyism of the D4 materialists. Senator John Dardis (2005) summed this up perfectly in a Seanad debate on the tendency of newspapers to report opinion as fact:

one finds a preponderance of articles from self-proclaimed experts who tend to be from middle class backgrounds — dare I say Dublin 4 types, which is a state of mind rather than a geographic location. These articles tend to reflect the attitudes of a particular section of society and regard those attitudes as dominant [469][3]

The cronyism of the “honour among Rock boys” is further reinforced when Ross and his friends from Foxrock who won the “Leinster Schools Senior Cup” (p.297) are re-united in Vegas and Oisinn jokes about trying to get planning permission for a Star Wars casino in Ireland; “J.P’s there, ‘Ross’s old man probably could – with some of his contacts’ and everyone laughs” (p.361).

Howard has a field day satirising celebrity, designer and consumer culture through Ross’s ex-wife Sorcha and her “obsession with material things” (p.304), her celebrity text alerts, her commentaries from celebrity-info-entertainment magazines and even to the extent of making their 18 month old daughter wear “Stilettos for babies” on the grounds that “girls eventually have to learn to wear designer heels” (p.17). Ross’s agent Trevion sums it up with “People are obsessed with celebrity lives” (p.102) after a coincidental photograph is taken of Ross with a reality TV star that hurls him into the celebrity z list overnight and spirals into a series of events which includes dates with ‘wannabe’ actresses, plastic surgery and his own MTV reality show. Howard uses this to lampoon the celebrity related reality TV concept of being famous for being famous with Ross adding, “Then I’m thinking about all the people who’ve tried to crack America and basically failed. Robbie Williams, blah . . . But look at me. Fame. Women. I presume somewhere down the line there’ll be money. And it all fell in my lap” (p.120).

In conclusion, I did not enjoy reading this novel. Perhaps the grim reality of the recession has taken its toll and only for I was required to write an essay on the novel, I would have put it down earlier. However I continued reluctantly, with very little interest in Howard’s satire of the social and cultural elements of the Celtic Tiger or his parodies of Irish society embracing celebrity, designer and consumer culture.The only satire I found really funny was in the fact that Howard managed to write ten novels in the “Ross” series, some of them best-sellers so he actually made money and achieved commercial success from the very society he satirised.


[1] Inglis, 1998a, cited in Tovey and Share, 2000, p.377. Tovey, H., Share, P. (2000). A sociology of Ireland, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Seanad Eireann Debate, (2005). Privacy and Defamation: Statements. Vol. 179 No. 6 [online], available: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/seanad/2005/02/09/00005.asp


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The Origins of the Tolerance in the Dutch Republic (1522-1648)

Under the rule of Charles V as the King of Habsburg Spain and ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, the region of the Netherlands made up part of the Seventeen Provinces of the Low Countries, which also included a large part of Belgium, Luxembourg and some areas of France and Germany. Each of the seventeen states had their own representative assembly or State Council and in turn they appointed a representative to the States-General, which was then answerable to Charles V. Many of the cities had high standards of banking and mercantile trade, indeed, Antwerp was a major centre of international trade and “contained of the greatest concentrations of wealth in Europe” (Zagorin, 2003).



Charles was an avid Catholic, and with the spread of the spread of Lutheran Protestantism in Netherlands from 1522, Charles established an Inquisition (Offen, 2010). In the Netherlands, from 1540-1550, there was an increase in Anabaptist Protestantism, which led Charles to issue the ‘Edict of Blood’ in 1550. This established the death penalty for Protestant heresies (Offen, 2010). From 1550-1560 there was a sharp increase in Calvinist Protestantism. This movement gained strength as French (Calvinist) Huguenots, fled to the Low Countries from the civil religious wars in France. While the Peace of Augsberg (1555), granted under Charles V became the first permanent legal basis for the co-existence of Lutheranism and Catholicism in Germany, this was not extended to the Low Countries (Mout, 1997). Charles V was convinced that heresy would be eradicated there, and when Charles V abdicated in 1555, his son Philip II, had the same perspective (Mout, 1997). By the 1560s, Philip II’s “religious persecutions and financial extractions” created opposition in the nobility and political elite (Zagorin, 2003). William of Orange was one of the leaders of the opposition and favoured religious peace (Mout, 1997). By 1566, a political stand-off developed in government circles “between the severe and lenient standpoints on religious persecutions” (Mout, 1997). Most of the nobility were Catholic, but some had Humanist views, and also a view of tolerance, as a necessity for commercial interests and trade (Lesger, 2006; Rowen, 1990).


Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II

In the meantime, during the summer of 1566, there was an upsurge of social unrest which was driven by famine conditions in many cities. At this time, Calvinist ministers drew large gatherings of people for outdoor services, particularly in Antwerp, and the social unrest soon took the form of a wave of iconoclastic riots against Catholic churches. This worried Philip II and the Catholic Church, as not only was he challenged by the nobility, the common people had also reacted. In 1567, Philip II sent in his army under Duke Alba to crush the rioters, and to set up courts to trial those who opposed the King, which resulted in many executions (Kamen, 2005). William of Orange fled but returned in 1568 with his own troops, and assisted French Huguenots to remove the Duke. Though, this did not come to fruition as William could not sustain the finance of his army. Nonetheless in 1572, a second phase was wagered with the support of some northern regions. In 1573, William converted to Calvinism and attained their support. By 1575, Philip II was financially strained and Holland and Zealand were free from the Spanish rule.

Following the massacre at Antwerp 1576 by Spanish mercenary soldiers who mutinied as they were not paid, Antwerp then joined in the revolt against Spain (Lesger, 2006). Moreover, the Pacification of Ghent, signed November 1576, was an alliance of the provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands for the purpose of driving mutinying Spanish  troops from the country and promoting a peace treaty with Holland and Zeeland. It aimed to regulate religion and abolish enforcement of Catholic laws against heresy (Bangs, 2010). It also aimed to defend the traditional political freedoms, rights, and privileges of Netherland states—a goal which aimed to unite Catholics as well as Protestants, Lutherans and Calvinists. (Bang, 2010)


Sack of Antwerp

However, Philip II gained more finances and strengthened his army by 1579, and so some of the solemnly Catholic southern provinces redirected their alliance and signed the Union of Arras (Atrecht), re-expressing their loyalty to the Spanish king.  In response, 5 of the northern states signed the Union of Utrecht (1579) and 2 more joined soon after. The Dutch wrote in the Union of Utrecht (1579), which would later function as their defacto constitution that “each person shall remain free, especially in his religion” and that investigation or persecution would not be conducted against an individual because of religion.

According to Mout (1997), the idea of toleration, in the Union of Utrecht was not wholly original as the ideas were dispersed from the Peace of Augsburg and also in the writings for freedom of conscience through such French writers as Castellio and others. Moreover, Frydenborg suggests that one of the main forces to push the Union in that direction was an economic one. However, according to Bangs (2010) the tolerance necessary for political unity during the revolt met immediate resistance, from Calvinists who wanted to suppress every alternative to their version of the faith. Toleration was certainly not a trademark of Calvinism (Bikk, 2007). As the Calvinists were a driving force in the revolt, they gained positions of power and began a repression of Catholics, as allies of the Catholic Philip II (Mout, 1997). From here, most of the population of the Northern provinces became converted to Protestantism over the next decades. The south, under Spanish rule, remained a Catholic stronghold; and most of its Protestants fled to the north. Indeed, the 1579 Union of Utrecht’s promise of religious toleration soon began to shrink.


In 1583, the States agreed to maintain and protect the Reformed Church and forbade “the public teaching or practice of any other Religion in the present United Provinces” (Bangs, 2010).  But politicians argued that toleration of the non-Reformed would contribute to social stability and economic growth. The Reformed clergy complained, but they did not completely dominate civil politics (Bangs, 2010). The debate on toleration gained further momentum among intellectuals, theologians and writers. The theologian Dirck Coornhert believed that religious freedom should be a fundamental along with freedom of speech and the press (Mout, 1997). Justus Lipsius argument was grounded in politics for the best functioning of the state (Mout, 1997). From 1590-1620 the debate on toleration was caught up in discussions ‘on relations between the church and state’ (Mout, 1997).

While freedom of conscience as encapsulated by the Union of Utrecht was respected, there were still heated debates (Mout, 1997). Strict Calvinists believed that the government was morally obliged to oppose heresy, that the government had no control over the church in doctrinal matters, and ultimately that all non-Calvinists were heretics (Mout, 1997). Whereas those who believed in freedom of conscience  believed that people should be free to choose their belief without coercion, which also encouraged freedom to worship, though political rights were discouraged for Catholics as they were still seen as Spanish allies (Mout, 1997 ). However, while the Calvinist church was the established state church it only catered for one fifth of the population, hence over the next few decades, other Protestant factions (Lutheran, Mennonite and Arminian) gained that status of tolerated churches.

The Dutch Revolt was decisive in shaping not only the ideas of toleration, but also the political and religious situation in which toleration could operate in the Dutch Republic. When the war finally ended between the Dutch republic and Spain in 1648, it was clear that toleration was a workable solution. While Catholicism was prohibited until the end of the Dutch republic in 1795, religious worship in private and even some provisions for schools were allowed (Mout, 1997). According to Zagorin (2003), the Dutch toleration controversy was an outgrowth of the revolt of the Netherlands against Spanish rule. The revolt was on behalf of political, religious and economic freedom and is seen as a precursor for the anticipation of the French Revolution (Rowen, 1990).


Bangs, Jeremy Dupertuis (2010). “Dutch Contributions to Religious Toleration”. Church History, Vol. 79, No. 3, pp. 585-613

Mout, M.E.H. Nicolette (1997). “Limits and Debates: A Comparative View of Dutch Toleration in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century”. In: Berkvens-Stevelinck, C., Israel, J.J.I., Meyjes, G.H.M.P. (eds), The Emergence of Tolerance in the Dutch Republic. BRILL: Leiden; New York; Koln

Offen, Lee (2010). “The Eighty Years War (1568-1648)”. History Reconsidered [online] available: http://historyreconsidered.net/eighty_Years_War_1568_1648.html

Rowen, H. H. (1990). “The Dutch Revolt: What Kind of Revolution?” Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 570-590.

Zagorin, P. (2003). How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West. Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford

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An Introduction to the Reformation in Ireland under King Henry VIII

Initially, to understand the emergence of the Reformation in Ireland it is useful to look back at England under the guidance of Tudor King Henry VII. King Henry VII’s accession to the throne in 1485 was threatened by plots and conspiracies. To strengthen his position he made alliances and trade treaties with France and the Netherlands and arranged the marriage of his daughter, Margaret Tudor, to James IV of Scotland in order to secure peace between the two countries. Henry VII also wanted to establish peace between England and Spain, and secured a marriage between his eldest son and heir, Prince Arthur, and the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, in 1501. However, the 15 year old Arthur died suddenly in 1502, leaving Catherine a widow and making his younger brother, Henry, the new heir to the throne (www.royal.gov.uk)

King Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son, Prince Henry in marriage to Arthur’s widow Catherine at the age of 10. A Treaty was signed in 1503, to agree the betrothal but Henry was only 11 and too young for cohabitation. By the time Prince Henry was 14 he repudiated the proposed marriage, but following the death of his father in 1509, he changed his mind and decided to marry Catherine of Aragon, to keep the peace between England and Spain and benefit from Catherine’s profitable dowry.

Catherine of Aragon only gave a daughter, Mary, to Henry VIII but not a male heir to the throne. To secure a strong monarchy, he wanted a son and decided to divorce Catherine and replace her with a wife who would bear him a son. He petitioned the Pope for a divorce but the Pope refused to give his permission. In May 1533 the Archbishop of Canterbury declared Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine as invalid, on the grounds that it was against the scripture to marry one’s brother wife.


Catherine of Aragon

King Henry VIII, then married Anne Boleyn. The Pope responded later with the excommunication of King Henry VIII. However, Henry VIII had already been enacting legislation to break with the Roman Catholic Church.With the Act of Succession 1533, Catherine’s daughter, Mary, was declared illegitimate; and his marriage to Anne Boleyn as legitimate. The Act of Supremacy (1534) declared King Henry VIII the Supreme Head of the Church of England, thus separating England from papal authority in Rome (www.royal.gov.uk). This and subsequent acts gave the Crown the authority to disband monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriate their income and dispossess them of their assets. The dissolution of the monasteries took place from 1536-40.


Portrait of Henry VIII

The late medieval pre-reformation church in the Pale in Ireland was responsive to the authority of Rome and operated through a network of parish churches and chapels, under the remit of a diocese. Indeed, Jeffries (2001) claims there is much evidence that the pre-reformation churches in the Pale were ‘well administered, pastorally effective and demonstrably popular’ prior to King Henry VIII’s reformation. Following the Norman Settlement of Ireland, the Pale was described as the barrier, separating the lands occupied by the colonial settlers from those remaining in the hands of the Irish. Over the 14th and 15th centuries the Pale decreased in size until the Dublin Government was effective only in the ‘four obedient counties’ i.e. Dublin, Louth, Kildare and Meath. According to Jeffries (2001) the institutions, parliament, courts of the Pale, as well as its ‘urban councils, were closely modelled on those of England’ and the ‘nobility, gentry and the urban oligarchs of the region were English by descent, loyalty and culture.’ Nonetheless, the common population of the Pale was significantly Irish, and spoke the Irish language. The Pale was not shielded from the controversy surrounding Henry’s VIII’s divorce. The Earl of Kildare, a ‘leading nobleman of the Pale’ was confined at the English Royal court from 1529 to 1532’, and witnessed the proceedings first-hand (Jeffries, 2001).

When Henry planned to send a deputy to Ireland with a programme to ‘terminate the pope’s jurisdiction over the Church in Ireland’, the vice-deputy of Ireland, Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, son of the Earl of Kildare, and also known as Silken Thomas, renounced his allegiance to the English monarch and launched a rebellion (Jeffries, 2001). The rebels declared Henry as ‘accursed’ (Jeffries, 2001) and Silken Thomas attained much support from the Pale community. Although, once the rebellion failed, most of them claimed to have acted ‘under compulsion’ (Jeffries, 2001). Nonetheless, some primates and noblemen were removed from office, while many clerics active in the rebellion fled for fear of repercussions. Nonetheless, the Kildare rebellion demonstrated the presence of noteworthy hostility towards ‘the planned extension of Henry VIII’s religious programme to Ireland’ (Jeffries, 2001). This revolt also exemplified that there was a considerable amount of colonial settlers in Ireland who were ‘willing willing to transfer their allegiance from the English monarchy to the Holy Roman Emperor, ostensibly for religious reasons’ (Jeffries, 2001). So, while Henry’s attempts at Reformation, depended greatly on ‘obedience’ to the crown, the ‘Kildare revolt suggests that the English crown could not depend on the same level of obedience among the colonial elites in the Pale’ (Jeffries, 2001). So, the enforcement of the Reformation may not have been pursued as rigorously in the Pale as elsewhere in England ‘for fear of making the lordship ungovernable’ (Jeffries, 2001). Although, action was taken by the crown to eliminate many opponents of the Reformation to weaken the opposition in the Pale to some extent, and there were no problems presented at the convening of the Irish parliament in May 1536 (Jeffries, 2001).

According to Ford (1986) the real start of the Irish Reformation can be traced back to the declaration of the Irish Parliament in 1536 which made Henry VIII “the only supreme head” of the whole Church in Ireland. This was met with some opposition though not enough to alter the outcome. However, Ford (1986) notes that ‘the development of a distinct Protestant Church’ did not formulate until much later. Indeed, King Henry VIII was primarily concerned with appropriating the authority from the Pope as the head of the Church in England and Ireland than altering the doctrine or theology of the Church, such as happened in Germany with Martin Luther.

Further opposition was voiced in the Irish Parliament over the dissolution of the monasteries, and for some years pleas were made to the King to prevent the dissolution of some monasteries within the Pale. While these appeals were ignored, it does show that the ‘colonial community’ of the Pale did not readily agree to Henry VII’s dissolution of the monasteries. However, Henry proceeded, and as it was inevitable ‘several of the colonial elites in Ireland were pragmatic enough to take their share of the monastic spoils once it was apparent that in this instance self-denial would have achieved nothing’ (Jeffries, 2001). Indeed, developments in England in the dissolution of the monasteries ‘helped to psychologically prepare people in the Pale to acquiesce in religious change’ (Jeffries, 2001).

In England, ‘coercion, intimidation and censorship were widely used to silence conservative opponents’ and an intense ‘propaganda campaign’ through print and preaching ‘ensured that the Tudors’ ecclesiastical decrees were enforced successfully in England’s parishes’ (Jeffries, 2001). On the other hand, in the Pale there was little or no propaganda campaign and the Bishops lacked the support of the clergy to preach in many parishes. Indeed, the later injunctions to remove relics and images were also interpreted differently from parish to parish. In some cases, ‘images were effectively removed and hidden by the locals, sometimes so successfully that they were not rediscovered for centuries’ (Bottigheimer, 1976).

Thus, the changes made by the Irish Parliament in 1536, were merely directed at replacing ‘the power of the pope by the power of the king’ (Ford, 1986) and there were no dramatic changes in the role of the clergy or in the traditions of service during Henry’s reformation period. In 1542 the Irish Parliament passed the Crown of Ireland Act which granted Henry, by his own directive, the title of King of Ireland to him and his successors. According to Jeffries (2001) ‘the dissolution of the monasteries was the most dramatic feature’ of the Reformation of Ireland under Henry VIII, in doing so he neutralised ‘the potential opposition of a powerful group.’ Nonetheless, Henry’s dissolution of the Irish monasteries only ‘reached 55 percent of approximately 140 monastic foundations, and 40 percent of approximately 200 mendicant orders in Ireland’ (Bottigheimer, 1776). So the surviving friars may have proved beneficial to the attempts of the counter-reformation during the later reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I.


Portrait of King Edward VI

King Edward VI succeeded his father King Henry VIII at the age of nine under a Protectorate Regency from 1547-1553. During his short-lived reign he made some attempts ‘to introduce liturgical reforms’ (Ford, 1988) and the Church of England became slightly more Protestant. The Book of Common Prayer was introduced in 1549 and aspects of Roman Catholic practices such as stained glass, shrines and statues were removed or destroyed and clergymen were allowed to marry (see www.royal.gov.uk). During the reign of Edward VI , the Forty-Two Articles were written in 1552 under the direction of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It was in this document that Calvinist thought reached a new summit of its influence in the English Church. Religious change in the Pale was also accelerated with the introduction of the Common Prayer Book across many parishes, with the exception of the diocese of Armagh (Jeffries, 2001). However, Edward VI’s attempts to introduce a more Protestant church were halted by the restoration of Catholicism under Queen Mary I.


Bottigheimer, Karl S. (1976) ‘The Reformation in Ireland Revisited’, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2

Ford, Alan (1986) ‘The Protestant Reformation in Ireland’ in eds. Ciaran Brady and Raymond Gillespie Natives and Newcomers: Essays on the Making of Irish Colonial Society, 1534-1641 Irish Academic Press, 1986

Jeffries, H., ‘(2001). ‘The Early Tudor Reformation in the Irish Pale’, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 52, No. 1



Portrait of Henry VIII by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger.  public domain work of art. Retrieved from  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Workshop_of_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_-_Portrait_of_Henry_VIII_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Portrait of King Edward VI by Circle of William Scrots (fl. 1537–1554). It is a formal portrait in the Elizabethan style of Edward in his early teens.  public domain work of art. Retrieved from  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portrait_of_Edward_VI_of_England.jpg
Catherine of Aragon by Lucas Hornebolte.  public domain work of art. Retrieved from  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Catherine_aragon.jpg
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What is GIS Data?

GIS is an acronym for the term Geographic Information System. A GIS is a computer-based data management system that facilitates the input, capture, storage, retrieval, analysis, management, manipulation, output and display of georeferenced data, otherwise known as data that relates to a location on the surface of the Earth (Scurry; National Geographic). GIS software and tools are employed in a vast array of projects and scenarios such as urban and regional planning, forest and wildlife management, and emergency response analysis. GIS organises geographic data in such a way that “a person reading a map can select data necessary for a specific project or task” (ESRI 1). Therefore, a good GIS program should be capable of processing “geographic data from a variety of sources and integrate it into a map project” (Ibid.). According to Morais, GIS data tends to be separated into two types of categories: spatially referenced data which is represented in vector and raster data forms; and attribute tables which is data in tabular format (Morais “GIS Data Explored”).

Vector Data

There are normally three types of vector data:

  • Polygon data: used to represent boundaries on large scale maps, i.e. a city, a forest. They are 2-dimensional and so may be used “to measure the area and perimeter of a geographic feature”, and tend to be distinguished via colour schemes (Morais “GIS Data Explored”).
  • Line /Arc data: used to represent linear features, i.e. rivers, roads. They are 1-dimensional with a start and end point and so only measure length, and tend to be distinguished as unbroken, thickened or dashed lines (Ibid.).
  • Point data: used to represent distinct data points or nonadjacent features. They are 0-dimensional with no length or area to measure i.e. a school, a library. It might also be used for a place name of a town as an abstract point (Ibid.).
    Raster Data

On the other hand, raster data or grid data represents land surfaces as a fourth type of feature. It is cell-based and includes satellite and aerial imagery (Morais “GIS Data Explored”; Briney; ArcGIS “What is raster data?”). When discussing imagery as a data type for GIS applications, it is inclusive of digitised vertical negatives, scanned photographs that were printed from film, or born-digital images. Digitised topographic maps are also included under the domain of raster data imagery (Briney; ArcGIS “What is raster data?”). In raster data, imagery types are often described in terms of hyperspectral, multispectral and panchromatic (Briney). For example, hyperspectral imagery is used for classifying different land types, and it is beneficial for agriculture, forestry management and monitoring the environment (Briney; Morais “Satellite imagery”). A raster is comprised of a grid of cells (or pixels) that are arranged into rows and columns, and each raster cell is assigned a value that represents information such as temperature or elevation (Briney; ArcGIS “What is raster data?”).


Raster Data Cell (Image source: ArcGIS ““What is Raster Data?”).

Typically, for use in GIS, a photograph/digital image needs to be registered to a specific place on the earth’s surface, a process known as georeferencing (Land Trust GIS). However, for such an image to present itself as an accurate representation of that surface it needs to go through a process of orthorectification (Ibid.). According to Lear, aerial photographs and maps appear to be “a natural combination to record and analyze geographical information: Maps provide geometric information and photographs add realistic, timely detail” (12). However, aerial imagery is recorded via cameras as a “flat plane . . . whereas the earth is curved and its terrain takes on many varied shapes” (Lear 12). Thus, aerial images are distorted and are rendered “invalid for mapping and geographic analysis” (Ibid.). Orthorectification is an attempt to overcome this problem. The process begins with the rectification of a scanned (rasterized) aerial photograph. Rectification “removes distortions arising from the camera lens, the aircraft’s position, and elevation and other topographical features” (Ibid.). The aerial photograph is then transformed into a high-resolution digital image “that correctly represent[s] the geometry of an area and its terrain” (Ibid.).

Typically, for best practice, in order for aerial images to be presented as accurate representations of the land surface through a GIS application, the images will need to undergo the process of orthorectification beforehand.


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