“GIS is a seductive technology, a magic box capable of wondrous feats, and the images it constructs so effortlessly appeal to us in ways more subtle and more powerful than words can.”
GIS provides us a chance to discover relationships of memory, artifact, and experience that exists in a particular place and across time. The multilayered map of Payne and Froehlich’s travel journey we were creating in the past few weeks is one potential of the spatial methods. GIS provides tools to display and analyze information geographically. By layering information on top of a map, we can visually represent data in a way that can be readily understood by other non-humanists. It enables me to find out more information with different aspects of the journey and think much more deeply on questions such as how they made their travel decision and both the natural and human environment around the places they traveled.
These data shows different aspects of the same area, by which we can explore its history and the interconnection of different events. The data provided through GIS play important roles in exploring deeply the travel route of Payne and Froehlich.
I chose to tell the story of how attitudes towards the travelers changed throughout their journey. In the beginning, the men were cheerfully greeted and welcomed by their Moravian brothers as they visited places with much Moravian influence and presence, as shown in the image below.
Using the Measure tool on ArcGIS I could measure the distances between the points of their daily destinations. I tried to measure the exact path that they took as much as I could. I found that on average they traveled distances ranging from about 10 miles to 18 miles a day. Some days they travel farther than other days. In the beginning they had plans to stay with specific people who they knew, so the locations of their homes may have determined how far they traveled that day. They also tend to stay longer with people who they knew or when there is bad travel weather. As you can tell, there is so much information to be learned from mapping the journey that can’t be learned from just reading the journal.
The process of learning how to use the GIS is really a fresh experience, but it gets even more magical when I create my own map story. When I was creating my own map story, I got a deeper understanding “Spaces are not simply the setting for historical action but are a significant product and determinant of change.” My map story talks about how they finally chose the route. The reason is quite complicated when we related Payne’s journal to Moravian Itinerant, Slaves, Plantation in Maryland and Virginia, Native American Paths, and other historical reasons. In this case, the function is marvelously significant when we create map layers. They started from Bethlehem in Monocracy Path. They changed direction when they arrived Lancaster. It’s because along the Susquehanna River live many Native Americans and there are also many colonial ferries. After they crossed the Susquehanna River and got into Maryland, wherever they stopped and lay at is never far from plantations. They started their journey from those concentrated areas of itinerancy and preaching in Pennsylvania and tried to bring Moravian culture to occasional areas of itinerancy and preaching in Maryland and Virginia.