An inability to see the terrain of Gettysburg properly might be one of the decisive factors that led to the defeat of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate troops, according to a digital map of the battle put together by researchers. Middlebury geography professor Anne Kelly Knowles used GIS mapping to combine battlefield reports of troop movements with modern data as well as a historically accurate map stored in the National Archives' Treasure Vault to create an interactive picture of what happened. One of the biggest revelations was the lack of aerial surveillance might have made it impossible for Lee to see the number and placement of Union troops, Knowles said.

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