Wednesday June 12, Tracks #1 and #2 (Dupont Ballroom)

Construction and Management of a Geo-Historical Information System for an Interdisciplinary and Contributory Regional and Historical Atlas: The Historical Atlas of Limousin’s example

Juliette Morel*, Rémi Crouzevialle, Anne Massoni, all of the Université de Limoges, France

(*presenting remotely)

At the University of Limoges in the center of France, it has been five years since we started developing a Historical Atlas of the region of Limousin (AHL). This project aims to gather spatial-temporal information and historical sources about the history of the region. The Atlas offers an editorial space and cartographic interface where the regional and scientific community can cross, share and spread its historical knowledge and data. As such, this project lies on a close interdisciplinary dialogue between historians, archeologists, geographers, GIS and data scientists, as well as varied data producers such as public actors (universities, local authorities, archives), private societies (archaeology and tourist operators) and associations. On the occasion of the UCGIS symposium, dedicated to the geospatial humanities, we would like to tell the story of this dialogue and explain the interdisciplinary, multimedia and spatial-temporal data model and consultation interface that resulted from it.

Deep American Wests, 1840-2017: Literature, Sense of Place and Rootlessness Beyond the 98th Meridian

Charles Travis, University of Texas, Arlington

This paper discusses the work-in-progress of an Indiana University Press spatial humanities monograph project Deep American Wests, 1840-2017: Literature, Sense of Place and Rootlessness Beyond the 98th Meridian. This project combines historical, cultural, and urban geography, humanities geographical information systems (HumGIS), environmental history, literary analysis and digital humanities methods. The monograph and the HumGIS methods employed engages the genre of the Western, and the tropes of dirty realism and detective fiction described as heuristics to map historical and cultural processes and heritage sites contextualized by the project’s novels. Literary analysis techniques derived from Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), M. M. Bakhtin’s Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel (1958) Julia Kristeva’s Desire in Language, (1980) and FrancoMoretti’s (2013) Distant Reading inform the project’s literary, historical and cultural geography mapping fieldwork, GIS applications and computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) methods.

Displaying spatial epistemologies on web GIS: using visual materials from the Chinese local gazetteers as an example

Nung-yao Lin, Shih-pei Chen, Sean Wang, and Calvin Yeh, all of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

It is increasingly common for text-based projects in digital humanities to incorporate GIS and other geovisualization techniques for the purpose of data exploration and search-result displays. On the other hand, image-based projects, drawing from fields such as digital art history, often require text-based finding aids (such as metadata and keywords) to facilitate data discovery. Working at the intersection between spatial humanities and geohumanities, we believe that techniques found in historical GIS could well integrate these two approaches for specific exploratory purposes. In this paper, we introduce a web GIS platform created expressly for exploring and researching a set of 63,497 historical figures and illustrations, based on content and source locations. These images are extracted from a larger set of 4 million scanned pages from 4,000 titles of Chinese local gazetteers (difangzhi), which is a genre of Chinese local history produced between the 8th and the 19th centuries. It records local knowledge about places, and its geographical, temporal, and jurisdictional coverages are pervasive across historical China at all scales. To date, a significant portion of extant local gazetteers have been digitized as scanned pages and searchable full texts. Elsewhere, we have built a set of digital tools to work with these full texts and to display search results on an interactive geovisualization.

Morphological Measurements Compared to Human Landscape Preference

Paulo Raposo and Mark Colen, University of Tennesee

Anthropological research has found that people typically prefer landscapes that visually afford greater amounts of spatial information; open vistas displaying features such as bodies of water, mountains, and vegetation, are found to be pleasing, while others like dense forests in which the distance is occluded by nearby trees are less so. Despite these findings, there has been little quantitative measurement about the landscapes themselves compared against subjective preference. This talk will present findings of a study designed to measure human landscape preference against landscape morphology (i.e., measured landscape shape) to test for correlation. Spherical, 360° photos will be taken at a diversity of sites in eastern Tennessee that variously fit the descriptions in the anthropological literature of favorable and unfavorable sites. The morphology and characteristics of sites, around and as seen from the exact viewing location, will be precisely measured using terrestrial and aerial LiDAR, as well as digital elevation models (DEMs), land cover data, and aerial imagery. We will invite human participants to view a series of our spherical photos in an immersive environment, through a virtual reality (VR) headset. Participants will then be asked to give their ranked preferences of scenes. To search for a quantifiable connection between landscape preference and landscape morphology, we will measure statistical correlation of preferences with a diversity of morphological parameters, including topographic openness, terrain roughness, topographic position index, and tree canopy coverage, as well as presence or absence of landscape features such as bodies of water. We hypothesize that views with greater visual openness and longer sight lines, as well as those with a variety of water sources, vegetation, and land features, will be preferred, and that preference rates will be proportional to some subset of site morphological measurements.

Shared Places - Exploring an Ontology and Graph Dataset for Literary Geography

Safitri Widagdo, Johns Hopkins University

The ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities led to an interest in the topic of place and space in literature studies. Illustrative maps have long been used in both the material under analysis and as visualizations of topics under research. However, analytical or exploratory mapping has only recently been utilized as part of digital humanistic scholarship, and not without reservation. A productive discussion continues about the limits of a quantitative approach, such as GIS-driven exploration, in an interpretive discipline. One issue revolves around the ‘mappability’ of literary places, which impacts the connections that can be made between such places and geospatial data. My current project contributes to the conversation between GIS and literature studies through the exploration of an ontology for literary geography. The ontology conceptualizes literary places and connects them to geospatial data whilst acknowledging how literature is open to multiple readings and how literary phenomena can at times be uncertain. For example, the subclass Setting with the property isFictional could be used to differentiate referents (literary locations as opposed to world locations) even though the referents could have the same symbol, for example, ‘Dublin’, and have meaning partly from each other. Moreover, following the move toward authoritative geospatial linked data where geometries are left as blank nodes it would be possible to specify a literary Place without needing to specify and store boundaries. Incorporating the developments of the Geospatial Semantic Web, the project also explores how an ontology and graph dataset of literary places could be linked to other digital humanistic studies and queries. The general scope of the project is limited to a small number of ‘proof-of-concept’ technical implementations. Visualizations include: ontology pattern developments, diagrams illustrating potential queries generated by a federated graph containing both literary geographic data and other geospatial data, and extracts from a map portfolio.

Mapping Legacies of Former African-American High Schools in 1870-1960s Louisiana

Shaun Williams, Louisiana State University & Fort Polk

This study examines the emergence and decline of African-American high schools within Louisiana during the late 1870s through the 1960s. Few institutions in American history have histories in which development and decline represent societal progress. Communities overcame near insurmountable social, legal, and economic odds to build high schools to combat restrictions on the upward mobility of Black populations.  Separate but equal was the failed moniker most schools established under throughout this study period. Still, high schools came to symbolize a rejection of racial suppression as they provided African-Americans less limits on education opportunities. A mixed method approach was applied to research and map 100 years of school locations and narrate qualitative alumni observations within a geospatial context. Data collection methods included: surveys, interviews, archives, field visits, and literature reviews.

Teaching the next generation of spatial humanists through story maps

Melinda Kernik, University of Minnesota

An increasing number of humanities professors are turning to story maps as a way to introduce their undergraduate and graduate students to spatial thinking.  For academic staff, this has led to challenges in how to sustainably support the development of new assignments.  This presentation will report on work done at the University of Minnesota as part of an Academic Innovation Grant to create template prompts, instructional guides, and grading rubrics for assignments of varying lengths. I will briefly describe the use of story maps materials for projects in two history courses - one about crime and punishment in early 20th century Shanghai and the other about the silver trade in colonial Latin America.  I will conclude with feedback from students about how making story maps impacted their confidence in secondary source maps and understanding of “doing” history.

Map-based Storytelling for the Geohumanities

Robert Roth, University of Wisconsin, and Meghan Kelley, University of Wisconsin

Stories, like maps, are a method for documenting and explaining, for meaningfully abstracting our experiences, for communicating and sharing, and for asserting a particular worldview. While we often claim cartography as both art and science, data-driven and map-based storytelling truly realizes this autobiography, generating new hypotheses for scientific inquiry while also making space for a ‘digital’, ‘spatial’, and ‘geo’ humanities. Further, map-based storytelling offers one outlet for GIS&T to go beyond simple application of spatial techniques to humanities questions, and instead fully immerse itself as a humanities discipline: to become both art and science. In this lightning talk, we introduce new considerations and techniques for approaching cartography and GIS as the geohumanities: foundational narrative elements and their adaptation to geographic phenomena and processes, map-based storytelling genres delineating different story experiences, and map-based storytelling tropes used to advance narratives across text, maps, images, and other multimedia. We draw from several examples in popular media to demonstrate the power and potential of maps and geographic information for advancing visual stories. Taken together, these roots ground narrative cartography, and the intersections of maps with oral, written, and audio-visual storytelling frame a geospatial research agenda for the geohumanities.