DH: Spacial History

Jenna Hammerich’s “Humanities Gone Spacial” talks about the possibility of historically accurate visualizations through GIS data collection. This means that in the future through GIS map data we will be able to accurately recreate what a day was like in the past. I have some connection to GIS data collection via my brother as well as my engineering friend. My brother would tell me about how he would spend days in the field mapping out changes to the telephone poles on the Big Island of Hawaii. He would then have other people use this information to adjust the CAD (computer assisted design) maps so that they now represented the up-to-date information. One of my engineering friends is working on the Stockton levees. He has to go around and track changes in the water levels as well as anything the homeowners may have done to the levees in the past couple years (the data collection has been neglected over the years due to city budget). He told me about how someone had build a basketball court on the levee which is a huge hazard that cannot be overlooked. If the water levels were to rise significantly in the near future it is likely that the levees would not hold and Stockton would flood due to a lack of knowledge. GIS data is very time consuming to collect due to the fact that humans need to actually go to sights to assess and record the changes/status of the land. Yes, using this information to recreate historically accurate scenes would be great and would most likely be the best resource for archiving events but getting around the expense as well as time it takes to collect this data is going to be a difficult problem to overcome. Recreating historical events with such accuracy is something to strive for but not very realist, I do however hope that this does become reality. I personally struggle to visualize this when only given a text description. For people like me grasping the scale of things is quite difficult when not given anything to visually compare it to. I do like the concept of Spacial History but the problems associated with data collection and manpower shortages make me skeptical about a timely integration into our daily lives.


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