ATL Maps: Using Archival Resources to Visualize History

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 2:00pm


What happens when you layer a science project on top of a walking tour on top of an art experiment on top of an archival map on top of demographic data on top of a memoir? What if the archives of multiple universities and other institutions could be accessed on one platform and layered with the projects, stories, and data from researchers, teachers, students, and community groups? The project attempts to answer these questions. The platform, a collaboration between Georgia State University and Emory University, combines archival maps, geospatial data visualization, and user contributed multimedia location pinpoints to promote investigation into any number of issues about Atlanta. While currently focused on one city to demonstrate the power of stacking thousands of layers of information on one place, this innovative online platform will eventually allow users to layer an increasing number of interdisciplinary data to address the complex issues that any city poses. The project looks to offer a framework that incorporates storytelling reliant on geospatial data and for normalizing input across a range of data sets so that material can be cross-compared in novel ways, allowing users to make connections between seemingly unrelated data sources and ask questions that would not be apparent when only looking at one particular project. The ATLmaps also encourages knowledgeable members of the university and local communities to curate data on the site to demonstrate the possibilities for synthesizing material across projects and data types.

In this webinar, we will provide an overview and demonstration of ATLmaps. We will explain how the platform came out of two large map digitization projects, faculty development efforts connected to teaching and learning, and several local documentaries. We will also discuss roadblocks and successes in the development process-building a geoserver, copyright issues, search functionality, funding, and working across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

About the Presenters:

Brennan Collins is the Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at GSU. The interdisciplinary nature and technology focus of these programs allows him to work with a diverse faculty in exploring inventive pedagogies. He is particularly interested in using maps in and out the classroom to develop student critical thinking.

Joe Hurley is a Data Services and GIS Librarian at Georgia State University. He is interested in creating open digital resources that aid in the study and teaching of urban change in Atlanta and the United States. He works on several interdisciplinary Atlanta-focused projects, led the NEH funded Planning Atlanta digital project, and his research and teaching interests include historical GIS, urban renewal, and demographic, land use and built environment change.

Sarah Melton is the Digital Projects Coordinator at the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship. As a digital humanities practitioner, Sarah is interested in digital publishing and open source advocacy movements. She is also the community and advocacy coordinator for the Open Access Button.

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