Past Awardee

Mapping the Great Lakes: HPC Visual Analysis and Climate History, 1680-1850

Robert Markley

College: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Award year: 2012-2013

This project will extend the computational analysis of distinguishing features of 17th and 18th-century maps of the Great Lakes region carried out by collaborators on the Digging Into Image Data to Answer Authorship Related Questions DIDARQ Grant (2009; PI: Peter Bajcsy/Kenton McHenry). This jointly funded NSF/NEH/JISC grant focused on the question of authorship across three visual data sets (historical maps, quilts, and 15th century manuscripts), with Markley serving as the senior investigator on that part of the collaboration devoted to distinguishing between French and British cartographic traditions. In assessing a data set of 40 pre-1820 maps using a segmentation ball algorithm, we discovered potential evidence that these maps may encode both short-term meteorological and long-term climatological data in the form of variations in cartographic depictions of coastlines, islands, and water passages among the lakes. We propose to expand the data set to approximately 400 digitized maps in order to test and expand this hypothesis, using and expanding the techniques developed by the DiD-ARQ collaboration.