Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Trevor M. Harris

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa R. Bingmann

Committee Member

Gregory A. Elmes

Committee Member

Kenneth A. Fones-Wolf

Committee Member

Timothy A. Warner

Committee Member

Kenneth C. Martis


The permeation of the spatial turn into the humanities, and in particular history, has both imbued scholarship and opened up new areas for research. This dissertation examines the conceptual and theoretical implications of advancing the spatial turn in history and evaluating existing approaches such as Historical GIS and ghost mapping as a foundation for deep mapping. The resulting deep map developed in this study utilizes Neogeography and web technology in the form of JavaScript Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to develop a prototype that overcomes many of the limitations that occur when simultaneously integrating multiple sources of data and software functionality, as well as qualitative and quantitative data. These are issues central to humanities scholars as they navigate multi-disciplinary narratological research. The deep map platform is a web application designed to enable a user to explore both spatial and temporal data through function calls made to multiple APIs. The result of these function calls are displayed in the web application dashboard as maps, text, images, photographs and documents. By selecting an event or time frame portrayed on a series of timeline bars, the user initiates the multiple API calls and is enabled to develop a series of spatial stories.

The application is tested using a case study based on American western historiography and the work of Frederick Jackson Turner and the New Western history. In particular, the deep map centers on the westward frontier movement in early western Pennsylvania and (then) north western Virginia and discerns a north to south frontier movement that augmented the more commonly accepted meta narrative of an east to west settlement movement. Furthermore, the deep map examines the Martin family who were early settlers in Morgantown, (then Virginia). Through the deep map an examination is made of the Martin family and their slave Littleton who was granted his freedom in approximately 1812. Notably for the times, Littleton’s residency in Monongalia County was the subject of a series of petitions by both Littleton and prominent citizens of Morgantown for him to remain in the county and this at a time in American history when slavery divided the nation. The deep map advances the spatial turn in history by enabling historical events to be explored in the context of their spatial relationships using a methodology situated in applying APIs to the emerging field of deep mapping.