This workshop suggestion focuses on a tool, the Neatline map tool, that in some ways follows up on the discussion about the use of Scripto for Omeka projects. It follows first because of an underlying interest in Omeka, and second, because of an interest in visualizing archival data in interesting ways (which is what I take the text and archive based work in Scripto to be in the service of accomplishing). As I am sure a number of you know — and Patrick in particular — Neatline has the benefit or detraction of being a UVA product, so it is not currently supported by the Omeka.net hosting service and its server-based plugin library. Bummer as that may be, the advantage, I think, is associated with the increased potential flexibility of the tool.
My interest has been for some time now to marry textual / archival data with cartographic and spatial matter in order to create a richer and deeper data set. Think of this as an exploration of “big data” for cartographic or spatial humanists. One of the principle difficulties I see inherent in GIS platforms is the distinction (often under-represented) between powerful visualization and presentation platforms and powerful analytical platforms. We have begun to see strongly interpretive tools in corpus analysis and data mining applications; we have not, to my mind, seen the same evolution in the realm of humanist data visualization, and in particular, those visualizations tied to time and space through GIS technologies like Neatline. So, I would open this up for a potential workshop that might address themes like: what are some of the the analytical potentials of GIS based technologies? How do we see archival inquiries and historical investigations productively in conversation with the cartographic imagination? What are the limitations of tools like Neatline, or perhaps Google Earth / GMap? I mentioned QGIS in an earlier post and it got a big thud of silence, so maybe this is a better approach, but if anyone wants to dig into technical GIS (as in ArcGIS or QGIS, I’d be open to that as well). Any takers?