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Geospatial Analysis Center

GIS and History

GIS has turned out to be an excellent technology to delve into the past. Historians, archaeologists, and students are all using GIS as a means for organizing, storing, analyzing and sharing historical data, improving the path towards historical research.

Following are recent examples of how GIS is integrated into various aspects of the field of History:

  • The Library of Congress is using GIS to store digital information, and created a program that lets users access historical data. The Library is also using GIS in an effort to collect, preserve and make public important digital information
  • The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is using GIS to study the Cherokee removal of the 1830s, by implementing the technology to uncover lost sections of the Trail of Tears, the route the Cherokees took under forced migration
  • Remotely sensed data is being used by the National Park Service to study potential threats to surveyed battlefields. GIS technology has allowed the streamlining of both processes and resources
  • GPS and GIS are being used to evaluate damaged and lost resources following Hurricane Katrina, as part of the National Historic Preservation Act
  • In Newcomb, New Mexico, GIS is being used to map agricultural fields to assist in a study of pre-Columbian irrigation systems

Map of historical research using GIS

Project map showing georeferenced USGS quad, Redlands Schools, and web page of historical research results hyperlinked to the Kingsbury School feature.


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