Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian EmpireMain MenuAboutDashboardsData CatalogMapStoriesGalleriesGamesWho said history was boring?Map ShelfTeach Our ContentCiting the ProjectKelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5The Imperiia Project // Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
12019-06-27T00:59:08-04:00Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f591understanding spatial analysisplain2019-06-27T00:59:08-04:00Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5What sort of questions might require the reconstruction of networks? How long did it take for a currier to travel from St. Petersburg to Kazan? How about a merchant convoy? What effect did the annual thaw (which unfolded gradually across the Russian river system) have on transportation of goods?
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12018-02-08T12:29:01-05:00Conducting Spatial Analysis1plain2019-06-27T01:11:52-04:00Once you know what you are dealing with and where to locate it, you can begin the work of spatial analysis.
The goal of spatial analysis (should you find yourself wondering) is to study the relationships between human behavior and geography. The premise of this sort of work is that "where" matters - that the human past can't be fully understood without understanding its geographical context.
Conducting spatial analysis means working in a variety of different ways:
It means counting.
It means measuring.
It means calculating.
It means combining layers of information.
It means reconstructing networks.
It means identifying patterns.
(It means lots of other things, too.)
While spatial analysis can get mind-bogglingly complicated, it exists to help us understand ideas we can more or less easily wrap our minds around: clustering, dispersion, connectivity, and correlation.
That last word is crucial. Spatial analysis excels at helping us understand correlations between pieces of geographic information. Mapping helps us visualize and analyze those patterns and connections.
These processes rarely determine causality. Instead, they prepare us - students of history - to generate better answers to "why" questions than we would have had we committed the folly of leaving location out of the story.