Tour historic site virtually courtesy of Vincennes University students

Tour historic site virtually courtesy of Vincennes University students

Vincennes University Logo

June 03, 2020

June 3, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – While most travel has come to a halt due to the global pandemic, Vincennes University students have created an interactive StoryMap that allows visitors from anywhere in the world to trek with Col. George Rogers Clark and his men on their historic 1779 march to capture British-held Fort Sackville during the Revolutionary War, explore the grandness and beauty of the George Rogers Clark Memorial, and tour the grounds of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

Students in VU Professor Penny Padgett’s Intro to Geospatial Science course partnered on the project with the National Park Service and Knox County Public Library. 

The George Rogers Clark Memorial and Visitor Center is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This StoryMap is a great solution. Visitors can fully explore the national historical site virtually and safely.

“This not only helps the visitors who can’t make it here, which has become so much more important over the last several months, learn about our park site, but it also gives visitors who are here at our site that maybe can’t walk up the 33 steps to get a chance to see the interior of the Memorial as well as get to see the March, who weren’t here in February for our annual March,” National Park Service Park Ranger Lela White said.

The StoryMap includes links to 360-degree videography, GPS data, photographs, videos, and loads of information that transports users back to Clark’s time. It also features the annual George Rogers Clark March that retraces the journey of Clark and his men.

VU Intro to Geospatial Science students Noah Floyd,

Adam Goen, Lilia Wilde, Lindsey Clute

and Alea Seitzinger 

"This class project really showcases what can be done with geospatial technology. Professor Padgett's passion to challenge her students really exemplifies how VU takes students "further, faster". At most universities, this class isn't taught until the junior or senior year. Our students are getting a head start and at the same time, they are benefitting an important member of our community, GRC National Park,” VU Dean of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Curt Coffman said.

It was truly a hands-on project for GEOS 223 students on the main Vincennes campus. They not only designed and created the map using ESRI,  but they also visited the site, shot videos with a 360-degree camera borrowed from the Knox County Public Library, and compiled all the data.

Lindsey Clute, VU Student

"It gives people the ability took look up a historical location in a really easy way," said VU student Lindsey Clute of Earl Park, Indiana. "It's not hard for somebody to use and it provides a lot of information."

Clute said one of the best parts of working on the project was shooting with a 360-degree camera. 

“I took this class thinking I was going to be sitting in front of a computer for a couple hours a week learning about locations and mapmaking, but it really wasn’t that,” she said. “The final project was really amazing. It took a skill I had learned and applied it to real life. The website will be around for a while and it’s really nice to see a website in action that I took a part in.”

Visitors can use the StoryMap to see 360 views of the George Rogers Clark Visitor Center. They can also check out panoramic views of the breathtaking murals inside the Memorial.

“It’s a great interactive tool,” said Padgett, who is the chair of the Geoscience, Agriculture and Horticulture departments. “They did an outstanding job. It’s a great legacy project. This was a way to serve the community and also add a great skill to the students’ resumes.”

White expects to have devices available on site for visitors to access the StoryMap.

“We just had a general idea of what we wanted,” White said.  “The students took the basic idea and turned it into this StoryMap and really went into detail with it. They worked so hard on this and did an amazing job. We look forward to future projects that we can work with the University to continue this partnership that we started with this class.”

Explore the George Rogers Clark StoryMap at https://arcg.is/1nbyGq0.

For more information on Vincennes University’s Geoscience programs, visit https://www.vinu.edu/web/science-engineering-and-mathematics/geoscience-agriculture-horticulture.

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