Now, You See It: Visualizing History

Our detailed discussions about visualizing history have been among the most beneficial to me in my intermittent ten-year quest to find digital tools to map the missionary impulse of African American Pentecostal Charismatics in the Southwest.

As I had encountered maps in textbooks throughout my educational career, I was surprised by the opaque answers I would get each time I asked about creating maps to enhance my project.

As I poured through property records from one county to the next, it became clear almost immediately that the data collected would be best understood on a graph or map as opposed to described in a traditional narrative.  I was assured that mapping programs existed but also that they were complicated and expensive.

Of course, I was happy to learn that our recently hired geographer had ordered a copy of an excellent mapping program.  My goal since that announcement been to relocate all the data collected and now stacked away in boxes, and prepare it for fresh mapping project.

Given the length of my journey to “seeing” particular moments in history, I was delighted to learn about the various mapping programs we might use to enhance our teaching and scholarship.  With those tools and GIS in hand, I can move forward with confidence one coordinate at a time.

Source: Now, You See It: Visualizing History

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