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Michigan Tech Researchers Create Virtual Time Machine

Michigan Tech is always on the cutting edge of innovation but what they’re working on now is really ahead of its time.

Researchers are working on a program called Keweenaw Time Traveler, which lets users explore the rich history of the area.

Keweenaw Time TravelersMTU Assistant Professor of Historical Geography Don LaFreniere said, “This project is to create an online digital atlas that allows you to travel through time and space to look at how the Keweenaw was at different points of its history.”

“Back To The Future”, Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The name of the project is the Copper Country Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure and the team has been working on it for about six months.

When complete, the public will be able to access a multi-media interactive archive system that lets you drill down through the different layers of history, going back further and further in time.

Senior Research Associate John Arnold said, “I think it’s really important to note that this web-enabled interface is also going to be something accessible through your cell phones, so that folks exploring the Keweenaw can actually look at historical data in real time as they’re wandering around exploring these historical locations.”

The next step is to seek out as much information as possible from the public.

MTU Assistant Professor of History Sarah Scarlett said, “We will be inviting citizen historians, as we call them, to help us—not only process the maps and the information that we’re putting into the Time Traveler—but also to share their story.”

The date of the launch of the portal that can take you “back in time” is still in the future, the summer of 2017.


Michigan Tech is partnered on the project with the Keweenaw National Historical Park and Isle Royale National Park, the historical societies of Ontonagon, Keweenaw and Houghton Counties, the Carnegie Museum and Michigan Tech Archives.

Funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Michigan Tech and the National Park Service.

You can follow the project on their website www.keweenawhistory.com

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