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Grant number like: HAA-269013-20

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Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)
Edward Triplett (Project Director: June 2019 to present)
Philip J. Stern (Co Project Director: October 2019 to present)

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants
Digital Humanities

[White paper][Grant products]

$99,339 (approved)
$99,339 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 6/30/2023

The Sandcastle Workflow: A Malleable System for Visualizing Pre-modern Maps and Views

Designing and implementing new spatial humanities practices to visualize and interpret pre-modern spaces, using the Portuguese text, Livro das Fortalezas, or Book of Fortresses, as a case study.

Spatial humanities projects have long struggled to find a suitable platform for representing pre-modern concepts of space and place. GIS has served as the dominant platform, but its core paradigm – that historical data should be layered and often stretched (georectified) to fit modern Cartesian cartography – is particularly problematic for scholars who study medieval and early modern maps and views. Our solution proposes a workflow that integrates GIS, CAD, and the Unity game engine to build a malleable mapping environment that forgoes the concept of historical layers in favor of linked views that allow simultaneous navigation among original sources, modern cartography, and virtual landscapes. Using work already begun on a 16th-century Portuguese chorography known as the Book of Fortresses as our primary and initial case study, this ”Sandcastle Workflow” proposes a method for confronting a range of pre-modern spatial idiosyncrasies that GIS alone has proven incapable of visualizing.