Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had their own set of seeing tools when President Thomas Jefferson sent them off on one of the most famous mapping missions in history, from the Mississippi River to what is now Astoria, Oregon. The year was 1804, and, according to the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, the men brought a camera obscura to trace landscape imagery, a chronometer to measure time, an octant for celestial navigation, candle lanterns, sextants, surveyor’s chains, circumferentors and compasses.270 Today, we don’t think of Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery as data gatherers. They were explorers on an expedition to map a commercial route to the West Coast.

It’s an important distinction. The relationship between data ...

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