Mapping Assignment & Blog Prompt

Objective: Work individually and collaboratively within ArcGIS Online environment to show how James Merrill Linn’s diary entries from Feb-Apr 1862 can help to narrate his experience as a participating soldier in the battles of Roanoke Island and South Mills.

Using the data layers identified in the GIS DataSources sheet in the Linn GIS Data Dictionary spreadsheet ( ) experiment with the data to consider the place names and locations that Linn identifies in his diary in relation to battle sites, topographical features (rivers, canals), allegiance and/or population. How does analysis of geospatial data help us to make sense of Linn’s descriptions and observations?


  1. Two map layers submitted to the course story map that show your mastery of GIS skills; each layer should include at least point, one shape, and one path. Each layer should also include map notes and textual commentary that incorporates your interpretation of the diary entries and the data that is available to you within the course map with which you work.
  2. A 400-450 word blog post response to this prompt: What can GIS reveal to us about Linn’s participation in the Civil War – and more generally how we can use maps and spatial thinking to help us understand the complexities and nuances of history? Include three direct references to the Bodenhammer article; embed the story map into your post.
  3. Comment on one of your classmates’ posts.

Wednesday 11/12: Build test map w/ Janine

Friday 11/14: Read Bodenhammer article
Work on point, shape, and path
Choose 2 diary entries to create layers in story map (could be own entry plus one or two other entries)

Weekend: Close-read diary entries to be mapped; synthesize entries regarding Linn’s description of places
Experiment with ArcGIS Online data layers to think about how you want to use the story map to demonstrate Linn’s relationship to place

REMINDER: All students are required to attend either one talk session or the poster session for the Digital Humanities conference on Saturday, 11/15. The conference events take place in the LC. You will write a short (300 word) summary of the session you attended and if a poster, take a photograph of the poster you found most interesting.

Monday/17: Refine story map layers in class

Wednesday 11/19: Complete work on story map layers in class; submit blog post with embedded link to web map application by 11pm.