AbstractsGeography &GIS

Using Digital and Historical Gazetteers to Geocode French Airborne Operations during the French Indochina War.

by Gordon A Cromley

Institution: Kent State University
Department: College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Geography
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Geography; Historical GIS, geocoding, military geography, South East Asia, French Indochina War, parachute drops
Record ID: 2062648
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1417696951


This study explores possible methods for geocoding a database for events that are transitory on the landscape such as historical military campaigns. Both contemporary digital gazetteers and historical gazetteers are used to prepare a database of paratrooper drops during the French Indochina War. The French Indochina War is an important conflict that connects US involvement in South East Asia during the period between World War II (1939-1945) and US involvement during the Vietnam War (1964-1975). From 1945-1954 over two hundred paratroop drops were conducted by the French military ranging in size from platoon size (30) to the size of a division (4,500). A qualitative assessment of the accuracy of the geocoded operations is performed by comparing the results from the different gazetteer sources againstsketch maps found in archival sources. By integrating these sources with GIS, these events can be placed in both space and time for later spatial analysis of the military events surrounding the conflict.