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May 17, 2003

GIS a clue

by Feòrag

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been use to shed new light on the Salem Witch Trials, and provice further evidence to back up a theory by Paul Boyer and Steve Nissenbaum that socio-economic factors were significant:

Using the geographic software, Ray recreated a historical map of the area that showed the poorer families living in the western part of the village and more affluent families in the east.
Ray concluded that more accusers came from the wealthier households of community leaders and the majority of the accused belonged to the middle or lower classes.
He and his class also researched court documents, genealogies and marriage and property records of accusers and the accused. The research showed that many of the accusers and accused were involved in family feuds and property disputes before the trials.

GIS technology helping with history's mysteries - San Bernadino County Sun, 16th May 2003. If the article sparks your interest in GIS, GRASS is an open source GIS released under the GPL, which runs on UNIX, Linux and similar systems, including MacOS X, and a project is underway to port it to Windows. The site also contains a lot more in-depth information about GIS and what's it's used for.

Posted in Heritage at 10:15. Last modified on September 28 2006 at 23:43.
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