Here is the map I made from my data on the Letters sent from soldiers.
I took a sample of letters from 1917 and 1918 and noticed most were from training camps in the states so I focused on that aspect.

My second map shows soldiers from the same sample serving overseas.
I focused on France as twelve of the letters specified either a city in France or an undisclosed location.
There was on letter that came from Santo Domingo, but the latitude and longitude I retrieved online keeps putting the dot in the ocean. I left it on, but did not focus on it when deciding on a map.

My story map looks at letters sent by soldiers who were currently at training camps in the States

Sparse timeline of WWI

Maps are not easy, even with the help of Lincoln Mullen. Merely finding appropriate maps for my data was a challenge! When I did finally find a usable map of the United States for my first datamap, it took me awhile to figure out how to extract the already georeferenced map from David Rumsey’s Collection. I opted for using Lincoln Mullen’s guide on using Mapwarper and did it myself. I think it was better this way, even though I did realize how to extract it after my Mapwarper struggles (kept crashing on me!). I learned a lot more about geospacing than I ever could from grabbing a ready to go map. It required a lot of close examination when I was working on my second map of France. However, the original map of France was pitched as things got…wonky and literally sideways.

Getting my data sets into CartoDB made me realize how unclean the data I made last week was. I used multiple sheets, but had not grabbed all the important information into one database. Additionally, I failed to separate the different data for each map. I have a lot of blank maps on my account, but after many trials and errors, I was finally understanding Lincoln’s steps. In the future, I would like to clean the map up with different data. My pup-up info currently shows all the information in separate fields like my “clean” data has it. I would like to instead show Date, Name, and Location under one heading.

Creating the story map was a little harder for me in just visualizing what to do. I wanted to stick with using the letters throughout all the activities. This led to what I believe to be a very boring storymap. Letter and letter after letter. I at least tried to “spice it up” with the opening slide showing students of Illinois College practicing digging trenches on campus as part of the Student Army Training Corps (SATC).
As unappealing as my story is, at least to me, it did allow me to get an understanding of what that tool is capable of and everything that can be done with it. With some more time and research, I could see it being used in my project to map the life of one of the soldiers (before, during, and after the war).

Lastly, to have a little more fun with images and text, I did an assortment of World War I history for my timeline. This was a lot of fun! I was confused on how this would all turn out in the end from the spreadsheet, but I sure do love technology! It was nice and easy to bring this timeline together, I just grabbed facts from my senior thesis on the SATC; which is why it all leads to that before BAM. War over. This may be a preferable option for me in telling a soldier’s life story. I don’t like the jumping aimlessly (for my data) around a map so much.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Maps

  1. I am so envious of your data set. I tried to do something similar but I wound up with 3 dots. One for the home town and two for the two different bases I was dealing with. I also wanted to do a timeline of the letters but it seemed so boring. I like the integration of war events, once again, you’ve thought of so many thing I hadn’t. Kudos! It looks great!

  2. CartoDB made me really clean my data too, which is good and frustrating at the same time! I liked how you uploaded your own historical map for your CartoDB letters. I think it made understanding the time period the letters were written more apparent for your audience.

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