Combat stories: creating a web-based geospatial interface to record combat stories for validation and other research purposes
Mellon, Christopher J.
Jaye, Michael J.
Tsolis, Kristen T.
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This capstone project created a proof-of-concept, web-based geospatial interface to record first-person written combat narratives from U.S. military service members in a story map format. The application compares the service members’ geographic-referenced combat stories, called story maps, against the historical record with the intent to validate potentially beneficial aspects derived from service member storytelling. If the stories produce results that are consistent or comparable to other historical records, then one consequence might be that soldier and Marine narratives may constitute an under-explored reservoir of knowledge, observations, and data. The application accomplishes the project’s original three goals: recording multiple narratives; turning the multiple narratives into a comprehensive map; and allowing an analyst to compare and contrast the narratives with historical documentation. The second battle of Fallujah in 2004 is this report’s case study for testing the application. Using constructed stories from artificial authors, the application’s narratives produced equivalent graphic illustrations as compared to the historical maps from the battle of Fallujah. The geographic accuracy of the graphic illustrations, on a par with the historical maps, validated the concept of obtaining service members’ combat stories.
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