Kepler.gl is a digital mapping tool that is very useful for those wanting to work with data and map that data. This tool can be used for those in the digital humanities field, or anyone looking to map data digitally. Kepler.gl is a powerful open source geospatial analysis tool for large-scale data sets. Kepler.gl was an easy to use software that has numerus options within the software to create different types of maps to represent the data a user inputs. To get started a user will need a set of data to input and drop the files into the application. For my example I used a portion of the Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 which contains first-person accounts of slavery from different states. The file I used contained interviews from the state of Alabama.
The first map option is a basic single point map. This feature allows a user to view their data with a single point on the map for each data point. A user can change the color of the point and even add filters to the different layers of data.
Another option is to change the layer from a basic point to other layer. To change from a basic point on the map a user just needs to click under the layer settings and change the point to any other type of layer. In my example I utilized the cluster, heat map, and arc layers. The heat map shows where points of data are concentrated. The clusters feature also shows this, but I felt as though the clusters feature did a better job visually representing the density of the data. In my example, the data was tracked as to where the interviews were conducted. The clusters map showed the spots on the map that had the highest number of interviews conducted. The bigger the point on the map, the more amount of interviews conducted in that location. In the example I have attached, this is the arc layer featured. This type of map shows the relationship between two sets of data. In my example I have two different points, one is the location that the interview was conducted and another point is the location that the person that was interviewed was enslaved. The arc feature shows the relation between the two points and how they are connected.
There are a few other features to Kepler.gl that are helpful. I personally found the categories and time filter to be the most useful. The categories filter allows a user to create categories for the different data and plots the points. This was helpful for comparison of the data. The time filter was also a nice tool to see the span of time of the documents that I had inputted. It included the feature to have a timeline on the main map screen.
In conclusion, Kepler.gl is a user friendly digital mapping tool that makes data analysis easy to convert into a visual representation in a map form.