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Research journal honors WKU project on Mammoth Cave as homeplace

A WKU research project about the pre-park residents and communities near Mammoth Cave National Park has been selected as the 2011 Best Paper Award by the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research.

“Historical GIS as a Platform for Public Memory at Mammoth Cave National Park” was written by Dr. Katie Algeo, associate professor of geography in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology, and graduate students Ann Epperson and Matthew Brunt.

Dr. Algeo, a cultural/historical geographer who joined the WKU faculty in 2001, has focused much of her research in recent years on the cultural geography of Mammoth Cave. The Mammoth Cave Historical GIS (Geographic Information Science) project is dedicated to document and preserve the lives and memories of the area’s pre-park residents.

“Mammoth Cave is one of a handful of national parks that were formed from private lands. Thirty communities and 700 farms covered the landscape – people lived here, worked here and died here,” Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Patrick H. Reed said. “Dr. Algeo’s project pulls together information that paints a picture of Mammoth Cave as their homeplace.”

  • Read more about the project online at: http://mammothhgis.yolasite.com/ and experience the historical GIS at http://161.6.109.206/mammothHGIS/
  • Article abstract: The Mammoth Cave Historical GIS (MCHGIS) fosters new understandings of a national park landscape as a historic farming community and offers a web-based platform for public memory of pre-park inhabitants. It maps the 1920 manuscript census at the household level over a streaming topographic map and georeferences Civilian Conservation Corps photographs of dwellings for visualization and analysis of the area’s population on the eve of creation of Mammoth Cave National Park. A web interface to the MCHGIS permits broader dissemination of archival holdings. Public participation GIS techniques are adapted to initiate a virtual site of public memory to supplement the history presented by institutionally-held materials with those donated from private holdings.

Contact: Katie Algeo, (270) 745-4555.

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