GIS & Cultural Anthropology at 2012 AAA Meetings

This 2012 annual American Anthropological Association (AAA) meetings are once again in San Francisco, California (November 12-18). This year’s conference includes a workshop on GIS and cultural anthropology, co-organized by Andrew Tarter (website) and myself. The workshop is kindly sponsored by the Culture and Agriculture section of the AAA (website).

The workshop has approximately 25 pre-registrations, one of the largest enrollments at this year’s meetings. Participants receive a 90+ page workbook introducing them to basic and intermediate geospatial techniques commonly used by anthropologists. The following post presents a brief introduction to the workshop, which is once again offered at the 2013 AAA meetings in Chicago (November 20-24). Continue reading

Mapping Hurricane Sandy

A quick blog post for maps I am creating as Hurricane Sandy approaches New Jersey. The background imagery for these maps is from ESRI’s National Geographic Basemap. The weather information is rom NOAA’s nowCOAST Info Depot. I am also creating maps of power outages by municipality for Monmouth County.

I will be continually updating this post throughout the week (after getting power back at my home in Eatontown, NJ). Most recent images at the top of the post, scroll down for older images. Continue reading

Rosewood Heritage Project – Cemetery Documentation

The last week of August marked the inaugural fieldwork of a new collaborative project exploring Rosewood’s past. The Rosewood Heritage Project is the next phase of the work I began with my dissertation. A significant portion of my PhD research combined archaeology, documentary research, and oral history to construct a more accurate history of Rosewood’s development and subsequent destruction. You can visit the Rosewood Heritage Project’s website to learn more about this previous work. This post describes the ongoing documentation of Rosewood’s African American cemetery. Continue reading

Geovisualization of New Jersey Property Values

This post concerns the visualization of property values. I am working on this for an upcoming project on the African American experience in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and particularly the 1970 riot. Part of this research focuses on the socioeconomic experiences (e.g., access to property ownership, property values) of various groups ithroughout the 20th century. Property ownership remains part of the “American Dream” and lured African Americans to many northern locations, places promising a more equitable society. A promised often denied.

One goal for this project explores geovisualization. Geovisualization, short for geographic visualization, is the visual representation of geospatial analyses. This increasingly involves the creation of interactive displays to share location-specific data. This post is not a nuts-and-bults how to, but it does outline the general steps and process for producing some interesting images of property values.

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The Undead Liven Up the Classroom: A Zombie Habitat Model for Monmouth County, NJ

One of my primary interests as a geographic information systems (GIS) educator is exploring new ways of teaching GIS, and spatial analysis in particular. Lessons about network analysis and habitat modeling are some of the most difficult to explain because of their technical nature – not to mention the complicated process of arranging and changing data to accomplish various analyses.

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Updates to the Virtual Rosewood Research Site


I have made two major updates to the Virtual Rosewood Research Site (VRRP) in the past couple of months. The first update is the addition of oral history transcriptions to the VRRP Data Warehouse. The second major update involves the completion of the Virtual Rosewood online world.

Rosewood Oral Histories Online

The first update involves the addition of several oral history transcriptions from Rosewood survivors and descendants as well as witnesses to the 1923 riot which destroyed the town. The oral histories were collected by a group of historians as part of the compensation bill which made its way through the Florida state legislature in 1993 and 1994. Continue reading

15 Winters in Rosewood, Florida

How cold is it? Is it raining? Will it be sunny today? Questions like these have surely been asked by humans since the dawn of time. Weather certainly plays an important role in human society. As such, scholars are increasingly looking at the ways weather affected the past (see Durschmied’s The Weather Factor and Fagan’s The Little Ice Age for recent examples).

The 1923 riot which destroyed Rosewood was actually a week-long series of events beginning on Monday January 1st and concluding with the complete destruction of all black-owned buildings on Saturday January 6th. Many of the survivors were forced to spend at least one night hiding in the cold swamps while thier homes were destroyed. Decades later several of these survivors related how that winter was one of the coldest they could remember. Was it? Daily weather observations from nearby Cedar Key warehoused by the National Climatic Data Center provide the answer.

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Virtual Rosewood Research Project (VRRP) Data Warehouse Opens

As the primary/initial phase of the Virtual Rosewood Research Project (VRRP) comes to a close, I have decided to begin posting some of the data I’ve used for my study online. While I plan to remain active in researching Rosewood in the future, the completion of my dissertation and a virtual model of Rosewood signals the end of the project as envisioned when I began systematic research in 2008.

Sample 1900 Historic Census Page

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What Can Property Research Tell Us About Rosewood

A major methodological aspect of my PhD involves working with historic property deeds. A significant part of this involves reconstructing past property boundaries from deeds using geographic information systems (GIS). This is a time intensive process, but the results are powerful.

The Method in a Nutshell
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