While working through the process of finding a topic and creating a digital map, I find it interesting yet difficult to piece together something so important to the history of a place through mapping. It is important to do the even justice in the process. One of these maps that I found through the GeoSpatial Historian was a map showing the different bomb sites from WWII between October 7th, 1940 and June 6th, 1941. The majority of the staffing for this blog comes from the University of Portsmouth. I believe, personally, that this is a very scholarly source. It comes from professionals in the field and was developed with the help of specific Web Developers. It uses information that can be found in other ways, however it simply creates a visual of the information and allows its users to take a closer look at the bombings that occurred.
I personally enjoyed this source a lot. I have always been interested in WWII and what happened in it, ever since I began taking history courses. The fact that it was such a short time ago and that the events were so catastrophic is horrible, however it shows the advancements in society today and what can happen with the wrong leadership. I also enjoyed it because it is a different way of looking at something that is frequently discussed. As I said, I have studied WWII for a few years now, but never have I come across a source like this.
“Bomb Sight” is a not-for-profit website with the intention of increasing the knowledge people have on WWII and using another source, The National Archives (which people do not always have access to), gives further access to more information on this topic.
This project features a map of the bombing from the “Blitz”. It gives a weekly bomb census as well as the ability to look at strictly the first night of the Blitz alone, where you can see that there were already many bombings and fires. Along with the map, the website lets the user go through an “Explore London” feature. This feature shows you a specific place and the bombings that were done there, as well as how many bombs were dropped at different points in time.
The project uses original 1940s bomb census map which they georeferenced in order to make a more accurate visual of the event. It is specifically London as this was where it took place. For the project, they use a variety of different data such as Raster maps of aggregate night time bomb census, raster maps of weekly bomb census, bomb locations for aggregate night time bomb census, bomb locations for weekly bomb census, 24 hours of Blitz, Defenses of Britain showing anti-invasion defense locations, Imperial War museum images, BBC history WWII memories, Present day street map titles and present day aerial imagery. With so many different data collections being used, it is easier to see more accuracy in the project.
The project visualizes this data by creating a large interactive map that shows each of the different bomb and fire locations from the Blitz. It is also important to note how useful it can be that different locations can be specifically used through the “Explore London” function. This is something that can be used in a specific assignment if looking for the bombings at a specific time in, maybe, Chatham. This will show then and where the bombs were dropped in one of the alleged most accurate maps of WWII bomb sites online.
I think this is a very well-put-together source. Through the different explanations of data, it is clear that there was thorough research put into this. Another thing that I found very interesting on the site is that before this map was created, the information was only available in the Reading Room at The National Archives. Therefore, the site makes the information more visible to people and allows for a fair amount of interaction. It is also a good source because there are so many different things the user can do. We can explore specific places, we can explore weekly, the first night of the bombings, and zoom in and out of the map to see what kind of a scale the bombing happened on. The website also features a mobile app, making it easier for users to navigate on the go.
One thing I found very difficult about with this source is how to efficiently use it. It is not very Mac user-friendly. I found it difficult to zoom and try to find a specific location on the map. This map also is not very well sources. The only citation on the page is an example citation of the page itself. For this reason, I would be very hesitant to use it as a reliable source until doing much more research on its accuracy. It also eliminates the human aspect in the story. This is not a source that one could specifically write an essay on as it does not accent the casualties or any other specifics of the bombings, as well it is difficult because you can only focus on a specific point at once. Navigation on the site is very difficult, especially when using a laptop. Since it would be much easier to use on a desktop computer, it makes it harder for people to use that rely on a laptop instead.