Stories of the Susquehanna Valley includes a digital mapping project that aims to interpret and articulate the varying forms of community we find in the Susquehanna River corridor, in maps, videos, and other media. This project draws on scholarly frameworks to also include undergraduate students in digital academic projects, while also engaging community mappers. This digital mapping is multimedia, incorporating GIS, visualization of stories through a combination of imagery and text, and videography ranging from oral history interviews to documentaries. The goal over time is to develop a digital atlas that connects scholarly projects ranging from human history and community studies to natural history, focusing on the river corridor in interactive ways with communities in the region. This is being done through work on geographic segments at the Confluence, on the North Branch, West Branch, and Lower Susquehanna areas of the watershed, and involves collaborations across academic institutions.
Over the last four years a team of faculty, students and GIS experts at Bucknell have been working together to compile an interactive, searchable map of the river. The interactive map has clickable data points that reveal important information about the layers of history that lie along the river. The work is ongoing, as more and more layers of data about the watershed are added, and students and faculty are experimenting with exciting new mapping tools that use mobile and augmented reality technology.
Katie Faull and Emily Bitely (’11) were interviewed about their early work on the interactive map. More recently, Faull has written about experimenting with ESRI’s ArcMap Collector mobile apps.
Student and faculty work is often presented in the form of “Story Maps” that use templates provided by ESRI. Here are two examples of student/faculty work.
A Confluence of Darkness and Light: The first map focuses on the Confluence of the West Branch and North Branch of the Susquehanna River at Sunbury and was completed by Steffany Meredyk ’14 with the technical assistance of the GIS team in ITEC: Janine Glathar and Luyang Ren.
To the Seventh Generation: This second map was created from the work students and faculty completed over the summer of 2011. This project focused on collecting oral narratives from the people affected by the Marcellus Shale gas boom in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Bucknell students Sam Lauer ’13, Abigail Mills ’13, Courtney Nelson, ’15, and Drew Picketts ’13 among others have worked with Prof. Siewers in mapping the Priestley and Azilum project and also the Coopers and the Headwaters along the North Branch.
Joseph Shippen’s 1756 map of the Susquehanna: Katherine Faull and Emily Bitely produced a high resolution digital map of Shippen’s map of the Confluence, an important artifact that represents the contemporary importance of the area as a place where Native peoples, colonial military representatives, and Moravian missionaries interacted. The map shows with great accuracy the myriad river islands and obstacles that these peoples navigated.
Ettwein’s 1768 map of the North Branch: In April 1768, while traveling to the Moravian mission settlement of Friedenshütten on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, Johannes Ettwein not only kept a written journal of his route, but also recorded the trip on a hand-drawn map. The physical map is kept in the Unity Archives in Herrnhut, Germany. Making this map available to a wider audience allows us, to some degree, to map the experience of so many Moravian men and women in the mission field of North America as they traversed the mountains, rivers, and streams of this part of North America.