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Michigan Technological University CrestThis page is maintained by Prof. Steven Walton at the Dept. of Social Sciences of Michigan Technological University. It has been developed as a class project in the 100-strong annual course on Military History of the United States starting with the Fall 2015 class, and is one among many projects our department is undertaking on the geospatial history of Lake Superior and the wider upper Great Lakes basin.  For more information, please contact Prof. Walton at sawalton[at]mtu.edu.

Backstory

This project was inspired by my goal to (eventually) have a crowdsourced website database of military hardware on display across the country, and even world, from cannon to tanks and ships and planes.  This was inspired by my own cannon-hunting while traveling throughout the northeast and midwest, and wishing that every state had something like the Ohio Civil War Monument database.  But from my travels, I knew that cannon were not just surrounding CW monuments, but could be in cemeteries, outside VFW or American Legion posts (and there we get tanks and aircraft, too), and are quite freqenlyt at the courthouse or city hall in smaller towns.  So a geospatial database was crucial, but it had to be crowdsourced to get the coverage I hoped for.

A first step is this more controlled and bounded crowdsourced (in this case “class-sourced”) project to test the limits and administration difficulties of many user-authors and various platforms.  Other examples of the genre that have done wonderful things include the myriad projects on HistoryPin, which is wonderfully flexible but not quite as crowdsourced as I wanted, and Mills of Northern Ireland, which did what I wanted but was solely-curated by an individual, which if it were to take off, I could not keep up with.

We hope that you find this set of posts useful and informative.