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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project – VERY COOL!

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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

I was recently contacted by a group of history educators in Pennsylvania about The Civil War Augmented Reality Project. The team (see below or the “about” link for members) has provided the following concise description of the project:

Our project, the Civil War Augmented Reality Project, is intended to enhance the experiences of visitors to Civil War sites. It is also intended to increase attendance and revenue for historic sites by offering both “high” and “low” tech experiences to best reach the majority of the population. We feel that our project is fulfilling a need that educators, park workers, technology enthusiasts, and Civil War enthusiasts have discussed in the past: How can historic sites both raise public interest in their institutions though technology, and not alienate the non-technical history fans? We have worked hard on the answer. The objective of the project is to develop and implement augmented reality services related to the American Civil War in Pennsylvania, and to modify soon to be released tablet personal computers to allow the general public a chance to experience the applications.

Full disclosure…my day job is in wireless telecommunications marketing and in the past year I’ve been involved with the launch of Blackboard MobileTM Learn on Sprint (also very cool) so this project resonates with me big time. It’s about making education relevant and fun to all generations but particularly those who grew up using wireless and internet technologies. I’m so excited about it that I’ve created a new category on my links nav bar titled History and Augmented Reality.

I encourage you to visit The Civil War Augmented Reality Project blog which you can access here. Be sure to check out the June 23rd 2010 post, What is Augmented Reality just in case this is new territory for you. It provides a good grounding in the technology and potential AR holds.

Consider donating to the funding of the project. They’ve created a fun, Civil-War flavored funding campaign on Kickstarter accessible here. Be sure to view the video they’ve prepared at this site which really makes the team’s vision come to life. I am most impressed with the AR contest concept conceived around the battle for Little Round Top. The AR app being developed will work on Android devices (this would rock on the HTC EVOTM 4G because of the screen size), iPhonesTM, and undisclosed soon to launch tablet PCs which have cameras. The team points out that while the Apple iPadTM has driven adoption of tablets, it falls short for AR use because it lacks a camera).

The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

Hats off to the team leads for The Civil War Augmented Reality Project which includes:

Jeff Mummert- Hershey High School and York College of Pennsylvania
Art Titzel- Hershey Middle School
Jay Vasellas- Red Lion Area High School and York College of Pennsylvania

Sprint is the trademark of Sprint. Blackboard and Blackboard Mobile are the trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackboard, Inc. iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple, Inc.

Military History Word of the Day – "Castrametation"

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Prospect Hill, Virginia. Camp of the 13th Regiment New York Cavalry. (”Seymour Light”)

Photo: Prospect Hill, Virginia. Camp of the 13th Regiment New York Cavalry. (“Seymour Light”)
[Library of Congress, CALL NUMBER: LC-B817- 7218]

While researching the influence of Jomini on the conduct of the American Civil War, I ran across an article by James L. Morrison, Jr., (Professor, History, Emeritus, York College of Pennsylvania) titled, “Educating the Civil War Generals: West Point, 1833 - 1861″ which appeared in Military Affairs. He outlines the curriculum for students who would have made up a large part of the war’s leadership. It was heavily skewed toward science and engineering. But the courses on the study of the science of war included the following topics: 

  • “army organization
  • order of battle
  • castrametation [misspelled in the text as castramentation]
  • reconnaissance
  • outpost duties
  • attack and defense, and
  • the principles of strategy.”[i]

Castrametation caught my eye. Webster provides some insight into the origins of the word.

“\Cas`tra*me*ta”tion\, n. [F. castram['e]tation, fr. L. castra camp + metari to measure off, fr. meta limit.] (Mil.) The art or act of encamping; the making or laying out of a camp.Read this book” [ii]

A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer (first published in 1881 under title: A military and naval encyclopedia and available on Google Books here), puts a slightly different spin on it with the following definition:

“Castrametation. Is the art of laying out camps, and of placing the troops so that the different arms of the service shall afford support to each other in the best manner.”[iii]

I have added as a new word to “the terms” page here.
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[i] James L. Morrison, Jr., “Educating the Civil War Generals: West Point, 1833 – 1861,” Military Affairs, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Oct., 1974), pp. 109.
[ii] Castrametation. Dictionary.com. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Castrametation (accessed: March 23, 2008).
[iii] Thomas Wilhelm, Military Art and Science, (L. R. Hamersly & co.: 1881) http://books.google.com/books?id=GHcrAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA95&lpg=PA95&dq=what+is+the+history+of+the+word+castrametation%3F&source=web&ots=vnQF5eKGfo&sig=evmHB_wX1onpWxy-eQ9bsZHkZFc&hl=en (accessed online March 21, 2008).

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