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Complex Mapping Projects in the Liberal Arts

Class Projects requiring an intermediate level of investment of time and effort

  1. Cityscapes Project - Professors Sam Morse and Trent Maxy (Amherst College) are creating a web-mapping project to portray Tokyo and its reinventions in art, literature, and politics from the end of the Edo period to the present day as part of a (Re)Inventing Tokyo class.  The project uses Google maps to allow students to easily examine the physical changes in the city over time and add images of their own choosing to the map to illustrate the ideas examined in the course.  Students can examine individual builds, natural features or entire neighborhoods.  New locations can be added to the map by simply dragging the location icon on the right to the map and then filling out the form that pops up.
  2. Formosa - Dr. Doug Fix (Reed College) has established a digital library of images, text, and maps to characterize the island of Formosa (now Taiwan) in the 19th Century. The maps are served using ArcGIS software. With regard to his teaching activities, Dr. Fix is also interested in the field of "critical cartography" and is studying both maps and mapping practices to understand how they "relate to power relations, cartographic silences, and the interaction between human emotions/aesthetics and physical spaces".
  3. Event Maps - Dr. Alexander Nakhimovsky (Computer Science, Colgate) has collaborated with Tom Meyers (n-Topus Consulting)  to create a collaborative framework for representing sequences of events by annotated and timeline-controlled sequences of Google maps. The project offers a user guide and authoring guide for Event Maps.
  4. Virtual Burnham Initiative - At Lake Forest College a number of faculty and students have collaborated with community partners  to create a 3-D exploration of structures in Chicago based on the 1909 Plan of Chicago—by Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett. Supported with assistance from NEH (article).
  5. Litmap Project - Barbara Hui, UCLA.   Litmap was created with the goal of enabling humanities scholars to read literature spatially – a mode of reading crucial to understanding contemporary literature and textuality at large today. The Litmap application aims to leverage the strengths of the digital computing platform to present literary narratives in a way that opens up spatial readings of those texts.
  6. Neatline is a geotemporal exhibit-builder that allows you to create beautiful, complex maps and narrative sequences from collections of archives and artifacts, and to connect your maps and narratives with timelines that are more-than-usually sensitive to ambiguity and nuance. The Scholars’ Lab (at the University of Virginia) designed Neatline as a suite of plugins for the open-source Omeka framework, which provides a powerful platform for content management and web publication. Through Neatline, you can create rich representations of places, objects, events, narratives, and documents — like these demo exhibits.

Research Projects requiring significant investments of time and effort

  1. Digital Scholars Lab - University of Richmond. The Lab develops innovative digital humanities projects that contribute to research and teaching at and beyond the University of Richmond. It seeks to reach a wide audience by developing projects that integrate thoughtful interpretation in the humanities and social sciences with innovations in new media. The mapping projects include:
  2. Hypercities - A collaborative research and educational platform developed by UCLA and USC for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. Built on Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities uses geo-referenced historical maps, 3D reconstructions, oral histories, historical photographs, and other forms of documentary evidence and data, to allow anyone to create “interpretative pathways” through time and space, unveiling layer after layer of history. HyperCities is an open-content platform, which means anyone can register and create collections. In this context, Hypercities is component of what the developers describe as the geotemporal web.
  3. Visual Eyes - From Shanti (Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives) at UVA. This is a web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations. VE projects include:
  4. The Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University has produced the following mapping projects:
    • The World Map Project is built to assist academic research and teaching as well as the general public and supports discovery, investigation, analysis, visualization, communication and archiving of multi-disciplinary, multi-source and multi-format data, organized spatially and temporally. These maps are used in courses as well as in research.
    • Through the Looking Glass Darkly - Maps, data, and other resources recounting genocide in Rwanda from 1994 to present.
    • Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations - a GIS-based mapping platform that makes materials available for mapping and spatial analysis of Roman and medieval worlds from the first 1500 years of western Eurasia. See this Harvard Crimson article for additional information.

Additional Projects in the Spatial Humanities

  1. Spatial Humanities - A project of the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship at the UVA Scholars lab that includes a number of user contributed projects, tutorials, and other resources.
  2. A Summary of Historical GIS Projects - A list of scholarly works catalogued by the Association of American Geographers. Many of the projects listed draw from web-mapping applications.

[thanks to Sean Connin for collecting this material]

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