The resulting Spatial History Lab has since served as a critical testing ground for experimentation in doing history differently – utilizing technology to develop visualizations as a means of conducting temporal and spatial analysis rather than simply producing illustrations of what is already known. Its ever-growing community of undergraduate research assistants, graduate affiliates, professional staff, and faculty, represent a diverse collection of skills, experience, and aspirations.
Though White had already invested nine years in this book prior to the Lab's inception, in the last three and a half years of the Lab's existence, its Shaping the West team has helped play a pivotal role in clarifying arguments, testing assumptions, and offering new avenues of inquiry. All of the charts and maps printed in the book, as well as additional supplemental interactive visualizations on this site were created by Lab researchers, most of them Stanford undergraduates.
While the physical book is now complete, the team at the Spatial History Lab will continue its exploration of prominent themes in Railroaded, as well as deploying visual analytical methods to analyze the construction of the book itself. This site will reflect associated iterations to footnotes and serve as a platform for publishing new supporting visualizations and data.