In this third blog post we start introducing what the final result of this project will be (finally) and then we are going to briefly illustrate what has been done since the previous step and end up with the remaining steps to be done to wrap up everything.
Started by a simple database of maritime routes registered between the years 1262-1443 by the Venice dock , the project split quickly in two main parts:
- one more technological, comprehending digitization and modelization and the design and implementation of the website;
- one more historical, necessary to understand the data not only from a semantical and syntactical point of view but also to acquire some knowledge on probably the most important source of economical power of Venice.
The result of this work will then be a union of these two aspects that shows on one side interesting historical information accessible to every kind of public while using very modern a diverse set of technologies (not considering the technologies and the tools used to reach this results).
Presented in the format of a simple but highly interactive website, we will encounter an appealing and minimalistic layout with a small number of pages for the main different sections.
While the design (hence the implementation) has not been completed yet, the most important pages designed so far are:
- a landing page with a brief introduction and overview on the project;
- a page containing an interactive map with the routes used in Venice and a section containing historical information reguarding each journey with the relative informations and some charts with simple statistics;
- a page containing the digitized database (shown in a modern fashion) and some interesting statistics I did on the data (with related historical explanation for some of them);
- a page with pictures and historical facts and peculiarities of Venice and huge maritime economy;
- a contact page with references used in the project.
We left in the previous blog post with the final steps of digitization and the initial statistics on the data. The road from that point turned a bit in order to aim better at the actual result of the project. It was in fact important to understand what we wanted to do and we could do in terms of time, material resources and work. This lead to the website described, and to more specific analysis on data and the usage of particulr technologies to reach our goal.
As specified in the “Side notes” the historical background wasn’t just an interesting or useful work to be used as an added value to the website and the research but it was in fact necessary to better define the project and to obtain meaningful results.
At this point in time, with the basic structure of the website almost completed, the main steps to take are the connection of the website with the information in possession (following the described structure), and the implementation of the interactive map to be joined later with the website and the relative information of all the journeys (and the statistics).
A lot of other interesting proposals and ideas have been discarded as the result of the project, mostly related to depper analysis in the maritime routes, or wind studies, or maritime currents. This kind of analysis were very hard to do with the simple dataset at my disposal, nontheless probably impossible to do with lack of historical knowledge and more specific informations.
As a simple example we might think that Venice used Galleys in most of the registered journeys and this kind of boat was used because of its independence from wind and maritime currents, which already makes it impossible to infer anything from most of the entries.
Below is an image of a venetian Galley, type of ships often used not born as a liner it had a long and slender hull and a small hold that couldn’t contain too much merchandise, but the peculiar shape granted high mobility and speed in the sea, while the small sails were used to take advantage of the wind even if it was the human strength the primary method of propulsion, giving the possibility to move with great precision and independently on the currents and on the wind conditions.
Interestingly this type of ship was widely used in the renaissance Venice to transport goods in the most important cities of the Republic. An analysis on the data also confirmed this statement.