The Use of Technology in Napoleonic Research
By Nathan D. Jensen

Freely available modern software can be used to visualize historical data and gain new insights into the past. The MIT SIMILE project’s Exhibit tool specializes in sorting and filtering through standardized data, and is designed so an individual with basic HTML skills can take advantage of it. When applied to Napoleonic history, Exhibit reveals interesting statistics and trends that would otherwise be difficult to spot.

 

Google and Microsoft provide satellite and terrain imagery over the Internet which can be used to get an overhead view of sites of Napoleonic events. Points of interest and routes can be drawn on these maps to share with others and gain a better understanding of events across time and distance. In addition to these capabilities, with Microsoft’s MapCruncher, historical maps can be reprojected and overlaid on top of satellite imagery, illustrating changes over the past two centuries.

Nathan Jensen is a Senior Software Engineer with Raytheon developing the next generation of weather software for the United States National Weather Service. Fascinated by Napoleonic history since age eighteen, after visiting the Arc de Triomphe he realized there was no definitive guide to Napoleonic French generals written in English. To address this, in his spare time he built the website now known as VirtualArc.com, an encyclopedia of the French generals and battles of the time.