Last week, I had the opportunity to lead a Geographic Information Systems workshop at the 2017 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference. During the day-long workshop, I introduced participants to a wide variety of key GIS concepts, and taught them how to apply those concepts to a series of historical topics. During the workshop, we used ArcGIS (ArcMap and ArcScene) as well as CARTO.
By the end of the day, students had learned how to interactively map Civil War battle sites from the National Park Service in CARTO that can be filtered with a time slider widget, as in the embedded map below:
In ArcMap, they learned how to explore immigration data from the 1880 US Census (available from NHGIS) and visualize the data with dot-density and choropleth maps, as in the example below:
They also learned some of the spatial analysis functionality of ArcMap, including buffers, spatial joins, and kernel density visualization. To do this, we used the classic John Snow cholera dataset, made available by the Yale University Libraries:
We also covered the basics of digital elevation models (DEMs). Students learned about surface analysis concepts such as slope, hillshading, and viewsheds, and produced a three-dimensional display of a historical topographic map by draping it over a DEM in ArcScene. Data for this unit came from TNRIS and USGS.