Project Proposal: Spice Trade Route

As I approach my project I feel that I am going in the direction of using GIS and visualizations to track the Spice trade around Africa to India/China. I was very intrigued with the journal entries that Vasco da Gama’s crew managed to put together on their journey. Thus, I am thinking about either focusing on multiple journeymen who traveled the Spice trade or specifically on Vasco da Gama’s journey’s over his life time. However, instead of just plainly going throughout these travelers willy nilly, I want to capture the culture clash between these European sailors and that of the people who they interacted with on their travels.

Basically, I would like to provide insight on the inhabitants of Africa, India, and maybe China. Thus, when people are guided through the mapping system of when these sailors interacted with certain people, they can discern the culture differences between the two worlds. Therefore, I am trying to develop an answer to the question of how these explorers and people they visited would view each other. Also, possibly figuring out how these explorations may have changed these areas. I believe people who are interested in the spice trade, exploring landscapes, and the individuals who lived there would find this mapping system to be useful.

Although, the problems I can see in the future in regards to this project is integrating the culture customs of the areas prior to ventures there. First, the source material for certain areas like South Africa in the 15th century are hard to come by, especially primary sources. Even though, the explorer journals are quite informational, like A Journal of the First journey of Vasco da Gama 1497-1499.

Also when using the program timemapper itself, it may be hard to implement just general information beyond a timeline. Which in that case, it might be necessary to a have a general web page that highlights the map in it. Besides that, timemapper meets the needs for progressive journal entries that account for dates and locations. Within each point of reference I could add specific quotes, diary entries, pictures of the environment, and of certain scenarios. Overall, I am depending on timemapper majorly, with the possible implementation of a web page with more information. Overall, this is where I am heading in regards to my project and I am going to be working out the kinks to see if anything else needs to be accounted for.

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