Civil War Battlefield GIS Analyses


Civil War Investigations


Over the last two decades the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies has been involved in a number of research projects that applied a suite of GIS and related geomatics technologies to the investigation, analysis and interpretation of US Civil War Battle fields around the US. These projects involved conducting a study on the condition on 98 battlefields around the US, developing management plans for the Prairie Grove and Honey Springs Battlefields, conducting detailed mapping at Pea Ridge Battlefield and investigating the nature of artillery impacts and the distribution of related artifacts at Prairie Grove Battlefield.

Battlefield Condition Study 

The first battlefield study by the Center was conducted in 1993 and involved the application of GIS methods to assess the current condition of 98 battlefields around the US.  At the Center, a team of nine researchers performed an eight month study of 98 battlefields with funding from a National Park Service (NPS) grant. The project was headed by NPS project supervisor John Knoerl. Questions guiding the project included: what are the current landuse types and acreages, and what areas have and have not dramatically changed over time. Answers to these questions were used by the NPS to give recommendations to Congress concerning battlefield protection priorities. Mapping the battlefields has more clearly depicted the problem areas and aided local authorities in planning zoning codes or land purchases. More on the project can be found here.

Sisney House on a terrace north of Elk CreekPrairie Grove and Honey Springs Planning

The Center's staff worked closely with Landscape Architect Karen Hanna to assess the current conditions and planned development impacts. Detailed maps with planned development were developed for both battlefields: Prairie Grove and Honey Springs. More information on Honey Springs Battlefield is provided here.

Prairie Grove Artilery Study

As was the case in many battles, artillery played a central role at the Prairie Grove Battle. In 1993 Malcolm Williamson applied a number of innovative geospatial analytical methods to determine the probable distribution or artifacts from the artillery actions at the battlefield. 

Microtopographic studies at Pea Ridge Battlefield 

A study was conducted by Jason Herrman at the Pea Ridge Battlefield that used high resolution topographic mapping to characterize the small historic site of Lee Town located on the battlefield.  More information is here.