The Back50 Project features new map layers

In the spring of 2021, the GeoREACH lab added three new map layers to the Back50 survey map of Prince Edward Island: the 1880 Meacham’s Atlas; the 1935 aerial photos; and the 2020 aerial photo survey.  These layers now offer survey participants and other members of the public a rich historical context for understanding land use change in PEI over the past 140 years.

Published in 1880 by the J. H. Meacham Company, the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Province of Prince Edward Island was based on surveys made under the direction of C. R. Allen, C.E.  It was digitized and georeferenced by the GeoREACH lab in 2020 (  The 1935 air photos are reproduced from the collection of the National Air Photo Library with permission of Natural Resources Canada. The 2020 aerial photo map was provided courtesy of the Resource Inventory and Modelling division of the PEI Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action.

Josh MacFadyen presenting the updated Back 50 project at Orwell Corner Historic Village, PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, July 2021

Another development in this second year of the survey includes the Lab’s ability to hold small workshops where participants from a community or other group may see the history and maps from their properties of interest and contribute their stories in a group setting.

GeoREACH Lab Director, Dr. Josh MacFadyen was also interviewed by Island Morning on CBC radio on August 12 to increase visibility and participation in the Back50 project, and profiled on CBC local news:

For more information about how you can participate in the survey please visit the Back 50 project page.

If you would like to arrange a group presentation and workshop or a follow-up interview to share your own community history and learn more about the research, please contact Josh at or call 902-620-5142.