On March 1st, we hosted a special guest at the Digital Humanities Working Group – Andy Rutkowski, the Geospatial Resources Librarian at UCLA Library. His expertise is in how GIS applications and methods can be applied to traditional library collections and archives in order to improve discoverability of collections as well as provide richer context and meaning to materials. He is also interested in the role that GIS and mapping can help play in community building and providing spaces for discussion, dialogue, and engagement around a variety of topics and issues.
Andy offered a great workshop on the topic of enhancing digital projects with geospatial data. You can find a list of resources he used, his slides, and step-by-step instructions for starting your own geospatial visualization in Carto here. But for those of you who couldn’t attend and/or need a refresher, below’s a quick recap of some of the projects, tools, and authors he mentioned, as well as some further resources at UCI should you be contemplating your own geospatially-enriched project.
Conceptual, intellectual, theoretical:
- Andy cited a great quote from W. Bunge: “It’s impossible to understand the neighborhood without being a neighbor.” This is to say, remember that maps are situated and subjective, and your own role as a map creator plays a key role in the map you eventually create. Make your position explicit.
- Think deeply about how incorporating GIS impacts the research project. What pedagogical applications does this project have? How can it be responsive and collaborative? How can it incorporate the views or feedback of the community it tries to represent? How can it build community?
- The Green Book Project, by University of South Carolina Libraries. This is a map of places mentioned in the 1956 edition of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, an incredibly important series that “was intended to provide African American motorists and tourists with the information necessary to board, dine, and sightsee comfortably and safely during the era of segregation.” (quoted from http://library.sc.edu/digital/collections/greenbook.html)
- DETROITography. This is an independent collective of Detroitites/map enthusiasts who create cartographic materials inspired by Detroit.
- Hypercities, from UCLA. This is no longer up and running, but is a pivotal and influential project in the digital humanities. Check out the website and read the book about it.
Authors and books:
Tools for visualizing and manipulating geospatial data:
Tools for creating and enhancing geospatial data:
- QGIS – good for Macs, open source.
- ARCGIS – Windows only. OIT has a UCI license that you pay for. A number of computer labs on campus also have it installed. Also available for free with more limited options and noncommercial use only.
Geospatial data with which to overlay, mix, or customize:
Find historical or otherwise customizable basemaps:
More geospatial resources at UCI: