Out of the Desert HGIS Review

For this week’s blog post, I will be reviewing the HGIS project by Yale University on the Japanese internment camp detention and relocation during the Second World War titled “Out of the Desert“.  Upon entry to the site, it immediately presents the information in a visual and interactive manor without any complicated tools. It’s unclear what GIS program was used.

The map itself is nothing particularly special, however the use of different icons allows visitors to distinguish between the relocation centers and the assembly centers. By clicking on each individual icon, a small history of each location is shown along with more visual tiles which open photos related to that location. The aesthetics of mixing both the text information and the visuals is well done. However, upon clicking on the visual, it begins a slideshow however both the information regarding what the photo is and the photo itself are on two different slides. This makes for a somewhat confusing and back and forth motion in order to read how the photo relates to the information previously read.


In addition to the map, there is a small description which provides a link which leads to a self-led history of the relocation ordered by President Roosevelt and goes further into detail regarding the treatment and lifestyle of a prisoner of the camp. This slideshow is both visually appealing and informative. The information is presented in an organized manner that made it quite easy to navigate and understand. Furthermore, the language used was not that of a scholarly article, but rather an educational piece that those outside the in-depth study of History could understand and use, for example in a high school project. There are some areas where text overflow is an issue as it sometimes bleeds out of the boundaries of the text, however this is a very minor issue that does not take away from the benefit of the rest of the HGIS project.


I enjoyed exploring this HGIS project and learning more about the Japanese treatment during World War II as we have a similar history in Canada. They also provide information regarding the Noguchi Museum in New York and a symposium that was held earlier in October 2017, where further information can be found.

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