This class week we discussed the first chapter of the book “The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits” by Tiya Alicia Miles. For myself, I listened to the chapter over audible. We discussed few things from the chapter, such as being an enslaver was a prestiges symbol. We would also introduce the idea of geospatial analysis through mapping out James Sterling’s ‘world.’ Topics such as trade from the old world and the east came up. Other topics connected slaves being traded from Africa, and even Native slaves west of the Missouri river. We would map all the topics we thought connected John Sterling in order to get good idea on the geospacing of the period. Something we almost lack in today’s world.
We continue with the idea of geospatial analysis through the the Smithsonian’s digital mapping of the Battle of Gettysburg. As groups we began to critique the map. We determine that were a few things the map did well and poorly at. One critique we had was how the legend of the map developed as you zoomed in on the map. This was an issue because if you were a person like myself who looked at the legend before zooming in you would feel as though you were missing something when different symbols from the legend appeared. We also thought that the timeline along with the map didn’t effectively tell the story they wanted to tell. The maps told a substantially larger story while the timeline only provided details on a certain section of the battle. A reader if zoomed in on the a spot could easily lose track on where the timeline is leading or describing. We also felt that the timeline didn’t give enough information of the events that were happening, and that there should have been a read more option somewhere on the timeline.
Overall, digitally mapping historical events is an effective and interesting way to tell history. However, I find this method to be difficult to achieve without any errors in the presentation but if done right it could be a very effective way for history to be presented.