Praxis assignment: mapping with Leaflet

Hi there,

It’s been a difficult week for me as I have been recovering from the worst possible Covid wave one could catch (sigh), however, I am now doing better and managed to spend some time completing the mapping task.

Below you will find a simple website I built as part of this week’s praxis assignment; please note that instead of creating a blog post with my experience here, I have decided to incorporate the narrative part, together with some key aspects of this small project, directly in the website (all very experimental for me I will admit!). I’d love to hear your feedback, so please reach out and let me know what you think!

3 thoughts on “Praxis assignment: mapping with Leaflet

  1. Elizabeth Szypulski (She/her)

    Gemma, this is fascinating and such a great idea! I’ve long been interested in the phenomenon of art theft/expropriation during World War II, but I’ve never seen a map like this before. Being able to visualize the geography of this theft helps me better understand what happened.

    I’d be curious to see where else you could go with a longer/more comprehensive project based on this. Mapping this data would allow you to visualize so much about this phenomenon and really tell a story. For example, I could see adding:

    – A layer showing the movement of troops (especially retreat) over time
    – A much larger set of data, in order to give a visual sense of where these thefts were most common
    – Additional plot points showing where, if at all, artworks were later found — and perhaps visualizations showing the aggregate flow of movement
    – Metadata that adds context about the previous ownership of each piece — some belonged to private citizens, including Jewish families whose property was stolen from them as they were forced out of their homes and sent to camps, whereas others belonged to institutions.
    – Data related to the origin, topic, and value of each work of art — I’d be curious to see which patterns emerge.

    Thank you for sharing, and keep us updated if you go further with this project!

    1. Gemma S. Post author

      Thanks Elizabeth! I definitely agree with the direction you are suggesting!
      One of the main issues encountered was to find a comprehensive list of these artworks; there are a few websites that allow users to query data via their GUI, however, they would not provide a holistic list upfront, which makes things more challenging.
      In this specific case, I had to create my own dataset, which is certainly doable, but very time-consuming (even for a small database, finding all the pieces of information has proven to be tricky), but if there was a better way of obtaining the data, then this could certainly be a good starting point.
      Also, assuming the map gets finetuned, agreed on overlaying it with historical information such as the movements of the various troops.

  2. JP Essey (he/him)

    A bit late, but I finally am catching up and wanted to say how much I appreciated your maps. Having the visual really helped me to understand what was lost (stolen) in concrete terms rather than the abstract idea of “looted art.” Looking at each image I was able to place it in context and imagine its history- where it was housed, who had it, how it was looked at, what it meant to the the person/people looking at it, and so many more thoughts, I will not be able to hear the words of stolen art or looted without those questions entering my conscious. Very nice job.

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