Question 1)


  1. The first spatial argument, from My Dear Little Nelly, is about a collection of detailed maps of the Battle of Fredericksburg that Jedediah Hotchkiss wrote as part of an official report on the outcome of the Confederate war, concealed in the form of written letters to Nelly Hotchkiss in 1862. The second spatial argument, from The Battle of Chancellorsville, is about the historical steps of the battle of Chancellorsville through mapping that shows the attacks and positions of the Army of Northern Virginia C.S and of the Army of the Potomac. Both selections are quite similar as they revolve around the same time period, Civil War Era, and involve the mapper Jedediah Hotchkiss. In addition, both selections reveal crucial historical information in the the form of geographical locations/steps and use a similar layout-neatline. The major difference between the two is that the map of Chancellorsville was not intended to be discrete.

  2. Features, display techniques and visualizations that advance these spatial arguments include: highlightable maps, zoomable capabilities, text boxes that appear when highlighted, timelines, and a chronological layout.

  3. Things that could have been done to strengthen the argument include better maneuverability, as initially the user is somewhat lost, and a clearer and more concise argument that needs to be extremely visible. The user is forced to highlight certain numbers without understanding the argument.


Question 2)


a. “The What and Where of Twitter” page on HyperCities is making a geospatial argument by finding live tweets (time factor) from different parts of the world (geographic aspect) about a specific topic.  There were 71 live tweets about ISIS in Rome when we checked.  The assigned link, however, demonstrates the front page of all of the back end information that can be found within the HyperCities website.  The argument it’s trying to make is to draw you in.

b. In “The What and Where of Twitter” page on HyperCities, they use a very simple search bar in addition to a map and overlayed pictures to show the geographical relation of the various live tweets.  The front page HyperCities, however, uses images to draw you in then uses Google Earth and overlayed individual pictures to further the argument.


c. For one, the argument could be strengthened by clearer links to ease the user’s ability to move around the page. Additionally, many people in class were experiencing a delay/lag when trying to search tweets and locations. The page would be more successful at drawing people in if this bugginess were eliminated, as it takes away from fluid website operation and over time discourages a user from engaging with this DH tool.

d. There are many noticeable differences between Hypercities and Neatline. What we see on Hypercities is clearly the front-end to tons of back-end information that has been loaded in; it is a collection of projects. Hypercities seems to focus more on current-day information, while Neatline is more of a historic database. Hypercities brings into play lots of factual material, and Neatline provides more documentaries/accounts. Another clear distinction between the two is that Neatline does not quite create the virtual world that Hypercities does; this virtual world seems to be an effective element in terms of user interaction with a project. Going along with this, Neatline is text-heavy, while Hypercities incorporates more images.

-Elizabeth Detwiler, Micah Erstling, Adrianna Pulford

Lab #3: Spatial Humanities

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