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data analytics, historical


Historical text and images feed the complex narrative we view history with today. In some cases, references to recurring situations in the form of a diary or a series of maps can become quantifiable data in the form of a visual record. Analytics can be performed on maps of military campaigns tracking the movement of troops over time, a form of time series data, and on casualty lists recording the when, where and from which individual soldiers fell in battle. Our project utilizes primary data from maps and casualty reports concerning World War II battles, specifically from the Eastern Front, to reconstruct one of the largest military clashes recorded in human history: 1941 Operation Barbarossa. We transformed multiple maps into one central database recording the place and time of troops as well as their losses. The data set was not only checked for accuracy and completeness, but also interpreted for various military postures such as: attack, defense, movement, or reserve. Finally the data was mapped into an animated environment. The team created a new type of “weather” map displaying the movement of troops as if they were a weather front. Graphic representation using mathematical modeling allowed for detailed accounts of areas with concentrated troops and the direction of movement. A demo of the work can be found at URL