Lab #3: Spatial Humanities (Group Narrative)

Group Members: Charles Feinberg, Dehao Tu


In Gemini over Baja California, the argument being made is that multiple geographic images can improve our understanding of geographical scales. We therefore must be careful in accepting geographical spaces shown on maps as truth. Do not believe everything you see immediately, we must question our perceptions. The Battle of Chancellorsville argues that mapping has changed with time. We must be aware of the geographic and humanistic features adapting and therefore must continually update our maps with mapping technology.

The Gemini site uses a foreground and background scale and two successive images taken at different times and places to fully replicate the importance of multiple perspectives and known geographical features to fully comprehend size and spacing of aerial imaging. The Battle of Chancellorsville site is more historical GIS-esk documentation using overlay mapping technology to demonstrate a spatiotemporal difference in modern mapping vs. aged mapping.

In the Gemini site, we would have liked to be able to rotate the whole map and be able to analyze the geography from different perspectives. A map key for pinpointed geographical features would also have been helpful, currently the key is woven into the interactive literature margin on the left, but this is not conducive to quick analysis of the sites display. For the Battle of Chancellorsville site, we would be able to manipulate the overlay, currently the overlay is stagnant. If we could move the overlay to see the modern geographical map underneath, we think this could be a really beneficial addition to the study.

For exercise two, we compared the “Green Street Project” to “Twitter in Realtime”. Both projects emphasized the importance of temporality in location. However, the “Green Street Project” expanded the temporality to a historical context, for example what a New York City street looked like in the mid-1900’s vs. what it looks like now, while the “Twitter in Realtime” site represented instantaneous temporality by screening realtime twitter posts by both user-generated word searches and location of post “e.g. New York, Los Angeles, Paris”. Compared to “Twitter in Realtime”, which utilizes newsfeeds and georeferencing to locate individual posts continuously, the “Green Street Project” is far more static. “Green Street Project” is  preprogrammed to be updated manually by its proprietors and has little connection to the ever-changing social network sphere. Both sites dynamically utilize GIS to overlay information into its particular GPS location on a map. Furthermore, both sites use pinpointed images/text to enhance visualization and interactivity to engage viewers in their argument. To further the “Twitter in Realtime” argument, it would behove the site to not restrict geographic locations to cities and to increase the number of georeferenced tweets being displayed to hours rather than minutes. By increasing geographic domain and number georeferenced tweets, we could better visualize trends on a wider scale. The “Green Street Project” could be benefited by allowing the users/viewers of the site to upload their own images and be more engaged in Volunteer Geographic Information (VGI) domain. This would promote the website to become more current, more engaging and more informative, however, it should be stated that the progress of this innovation is contingent upon users providing accurate, worthwhile information.   

Finally, the most obvious difference between the Neatline and Hypercities web-pages is that outside the homepage, the Hypercities GIS platform is not functioning. This acts to emphasize the need for sites to be continuously updated if they are to be useful over time. Because Hypercities has become outdated, other webpages associated with the Hypercities domain are becoming antiquated and unsustainable. On the other hand, Neatline actively promotes innovation and sustainability because it is an update platform for GIS technology and related research.