Final Project Plan



Week of November 10th

Create survey
Find resources for historical data
Explore formatting on Omeka

Week of November 17th

Send Survey
Gather corresponding resources
Finalize Formatting on Omeka

Week of November 24th

Troubleshooting Omeka
Investigate historical maps
Add layers of maps to Omeka

Week of December 1st

Combine data and maps
Publish all to Omeka
Add finishing touches to website

In my original proposal, I planned on creating an interactive platform where users could enter their own memories of the places at Davidson College. For this interface, the ideal tool would be an Andriod or iPhone app; however, I do no think that making a complex app is a feasible goal for my project. Instead, I am switching the design of project to be more research-based as opposed to user-dependent. For the first few weeks of my project, I will be collecting data on individual memories of places around Davidson campus by sending out a survey to all students and looking through the archives for old quotes or descriptions. Additionally, I will use this time to explore the design elements of Neatline to see what is the best way to present the information and whether a more interactive design is possible. Neatline specializes at presenting historical data so I have decided to capitalize on this capability, and include more historical maps of Davidson in my project and take advantage of this as a way to improve my geo-referencing skills. In general, I will need to build in more time for troubleshooting the problems that arise as I research and build the website.

PA Proposal

Kiana Barry


For my final project I will study race in the town of Davidson as it has changed over the last 50 or so years. Because the topic of race and place is so personal and individualized, I want to make this into an oral history that is presented over time through mapping tools. Hearing the stories of Davidson residents of all colors and relating those stories to each other and the physical history of the town will be my biggest task. Even though racial trends can be very academic, they affect different people different ways and part of my project is contextualizing these understandings in a physical way through maps. One of the best tools for this is the mental map. Katrina Soni asserts in her piece “Exploring Human Dimensions of Multifunctional Landscapes Through Mapping and Map-Making”, “mental maps are an amalgam of information and interpretation reflecting not only what an agent knows about places but also how he or she feels about them,”(27).  My mental map of the town of Davidson will be very different from another students’ based on my year and the amount of time I have(not) spent exploring, which is reflecting that I know very little about the town because up until recently, I never felt it was integral to know much about the town. Because my center is the campus and I do not have a car on campus, my mobility is limited. I think this is related to the idea of mapping supermarkets in which the person who is asked to map the local supermarket versus a larger chain market. Because of frequency of visits, people knew how to map the stores they frequented often just as I could map Davidson College but not anywhere past the train tracks or Main Street really because I don’t visit those area frequently.

Looking at Seth Long’s piece, “Digital Maps and Social Space” speaks explicitly to the point that maps are selective in what they display which reflects on the cartographer. When we looked at maps of Davidson in the archives, the map that didn’t show past the train tracks which is the African American area of Davidson had an explicit message about Davidson: that part of town is not important. Drawing form Lefebrve’s Production of Space, when thinking about the Sparrows Nest or the Train Tracks themselves, both structures that represent segregation in Davidson, the Sparrow’s Nest outlives its original purpose while the train tracks still represent a divide between socio-economic classes and races.

My goals are: tell the story of Davidson from accounts of people who have lived here for a long time against the backdrop of a physical landscape of a map. My next step includes meeting with Dr. Blodgett in Archives to get leads on different people for interviews and for an overview on how the town has changed.

La Connaissance: Acquaintances around Campus

As a Freshmen, getting to know people is an important part of life. Therefore, I have mapped out how many people I know in various dorms on campus.


One of the first issues I ran into in the creation of this map was the dissonance between the two styles of maps that were in the overlaying process. The given map of Davidson had a very large focus on portraying the buildings correctly, while the roads were simply one-dimensional lines. Conversely, the map of Davidson I used was very focused on portraying the roads accuracy, while the buildings had a lot of variation in their accuracy of scale. Therefore, in the first overlay of the map I did the points were very far off as I had attempted to approximate reference points on the roads as well as the buildings, which made the map very inaccurate. By focusing solely on the buildings for reference, I was able to get an overlay that lined up much more cleanly.

The second problem I encountered was the fact that when attempting to make a gradient with QGIS, my shapefiles would disappear. Since the shapes are rather important for the message of the map, I had to work out a workaround by using the categorized style. After inputting my data values into the categorized system, I set the colors of each category individually so as to represent a gradient. The downside to this workaround is that the gradient may not be equally spaces in its color values.

Interestingly, from this map I can see that my social web seems to either stretch to include a particular dorm or not. It is no surprise that Cannon has the largest amount of people, given that it is my home dorm, but the inclusion of Richardson is interesting, given the lack of proximity between it and Cannon. However, it is important to note that this map does not include those people with which I am friends or acquaintances whom I do not know where they reside. Despite that, I think this map presents an interesting picture of my social reach at Davidson and I would be very interested to see how it changes over the course of my time here.

Maptiler+ Davidson in 1969

I had very similar issues with Maptiler when compared to my classmates (particularly Joe). It is very simple- there are only a few pages to click through making it far less intimidating than QGIS. In fact, I thought the entire process would be super simple based on how simple it was getting to the page where I was forced to do the overlapping. Before I could get to that page, I realized that I would have to rely on a googlemap image of davidson college. This image did not fit well with the map I chose, although I had high hopes. My map is too wide making everything a bit off of scale. When I finally found the best overview shot, and was ready to lay my map over, I realized I’d have to rely more on my map directory to understand how much the campus has changed since 1969. A lot of the buildings were moved, some changed names and new ones were built. This narrowed my reference points down to Belk, Chambers, Duke, Baker Drive and Concord road. When I finally, was ready to have my map rendered I was immediately disappointed at how different the two maps were. I played around with adding new points and tried my best to make the existing choices very precise but, my best map still isn’t a perfect overlay.

I think that the Maptiler can improve by having a few tools to help manipulate the overlay map especially if it is meant to fit a googlemap image. Because googlemap images can be as close or as far as the user wants, being able to rotate, cut and reshape the image that is being overlayed will significantly improve the precision. When I tried adding nearly 7 points, I became frustrated at how distorted my map became, making it impossible to understand. Finding the middle road would be the best, and that falls on the user to decide how many points to use. 3 is too little and 7 is too many.

Map Tiler Review + Davidson 60's Map Overlay

Map Folder

Map Tiler’s Interface is very user friendly at the beginning. The addition of points to match up with the given map is very intuitive. However, the map result can encounter noticeable problems if the map picture is not entirely to scale. For example, many of the buildings on Davidson campus to not match up with their counterparts on the two maps in relation to the streets. In addition, if a map is fairly un-detailed in a certain area, or simply lacks easily identifiable points for detail, the map will generally be very skewed, even if there are many points in a clustered area. Roads are the best point of reference, I’ve found, as they often have very clear intersections. They are also much less subject to distortion than buildings, which can have very many differences in scale between the two maps.

The other issue with the program is the fact that the output system can be a little confusing. It seems one has to devote an entire separate folder to the rendering files or the program will become confused. I would have rather the system create a folder in the destination file rather than just simply putting each file in the folder (or on the desktop) individually.

However, once one gets accustomed to the quirks, Map Tiler is very straightforward and simple to use. It gives a very good product for very little effort and can be easily taught to just about any level of user with minimal guidance.