GIS and historical analysis: a good mix

In the new NYT artilce "Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land," Patricia Cohen discusses the new academic field known as spatial humanities. Historians, literary theorists, archaeologists and others are using Geographic Information Systems to re-examine real and fictional places like the villages around Salem, Mass., at the time of the witch trials; the Dust Bowl region devastated during the Great Depression; and the Eastcheap taverns where Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Prince Hal caroused.

Mapping spatial information reveals part of human history that otherwise we couldn’t possibly know,” said Anne Kelly Knowles, a geographer at Middlebury College in Vermont. “It enables you to see patterns and information that are literally invisible.”

Fun stuff!