Spatial History and Visualization

All of the readings had interesting things to say about visualizations, spatial relations, and spatial history. For me, Richard White’s essay on spatial history was the most useful and understandable. A lot of that had to do with his use of examples that illustrated his points.

I think the increased use of spatial history and visualizations has great potential to enhance historical understanding. Internally visualizing the community or population one studies is great, but to actually see the land, buildings, migration patterns, etc. (change over time), digitally, may give the reader/viewer a greater appreciation for the historical argument.

I’m interested in individual and collective experiences in warfare. How great would it be to track a soldier’s combat experience, say from the First World War, and visually experience the movement of the soldier from his home, to training, across the sea, and then track all the movements he was part of on the Western Front? The digital representation of movement, whether through GIS or whatever, coupled with digitized historical photographs, video, etc. from the era or even present day views will be invaluable part of the military ordeal to the public. Independent of actual combat, movement of men and supplies is pivotal in warfare and has an enormous effect on individual soldiers. The importance and strain of moving over large distances in difficult circumstances on soldiers is rarely examined in museum exhibits but easily addressed (if you know how to use the technology) using spatial and digital history.

Viewshare looks like an interesting tool for the mapping of an individual soldier’s movements and experiences.

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