Two students using the using KeTT at Quincy Mine
Keweenaw History and Heritage

Search for people and places. Map your history. Add your story. The Keweenaw Time Traveler brings regional archives to life. 

Keweenaw Time Traveler

The Keweenaw Time Traveler (KeTT) is an online interactive historical atlas that is changing how we learn about, share, and research the history and heritage of Michigan’s Copper Country.

The Keweenaw Time Traveler is a prime example of what can be done with history and technology at a flagship technological university like Michigan Tech.

Don Lafreniere
Don Lafreniere
KeTT project director and chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Tech

About the Project

Based in the Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Lab (HESAL) in Michigan Tech's Department of Social Sciences, the KeTT team works with local historical societies and heritage organizations including Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historial Collections, Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and the historical societies of Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties.

A photo of Houghton Fire Station overlaid with a historic street map.

Then and now: the Continental Fire Company Building, original home to Michigan Tech when it was known as the Michigan Mining School. (Image Credit: Nathan Frazier and MTU Archives)

Researchers and community groups in HESAL work together using geospatial technologies to understand how environments change over time. The lab specializes in big datasets, web-based and mobile GIS (geographic information systems), and spatial analysis.

The technology allows everyone to explore social, human built, and natural environments, sparking conversations and illuminating history.

Citizen historians are invited to document building use or transcribe a map.

Find out how to share your story using the Time Traveler Explorer App.

About the Researchers

  • Department Chair, Social Sciences
  • Director, Geospatial Research Facility
  • Professor of Geography and GIS

Research Interests

  • Environmental Change and Life Course Epidemiology
  • Urban Environments and Population Health
  • Public Participatory GIS
  • Historical GIS & Deep Mapping
  • Spatial Humanities 
  • Deindustrialization and Shrinking Cities
  • Time-Space Integration and Modeling in GIS
  • Demography and Historical Record Linkage
  • Sense of Place and Neighborhood Construction
  • Associate Professor of History

Research Interests

  • Spatial, material, and experiential aspects of social power in industrial communities
  • Historical GIS for Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • American Vernacular Architecture and Material Culture Studies
  • Public History, Historic Preservation, and Museums
  • History of Design, Craft, and Production in the United States
  • Cultural Landscapes and Historic Architecture of the Keweenaw
Daniel Trepal

Daniel Trepal

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Social Sciences
  • Senior Geospatial Research Scientist


  • PhD, Industrial Heritage and Archaeology, Michigan Technological University
  • MS, Industrial Archaeology, Michigan Technological University
  • BS, Anthropology and History, Cleveland State University

Research Interests

  • Industrial and Urban Archaeology
  • Historical GIS
  • Deindustrialization
  • Industrial Landscapes
  • The Archaeology of Brownfields
  • Spatial Analysis of Historical Industrial Pollutants
  • Big Data Approaches to Archaeology
  • Publicly-engaged Scholarship
  • Associate Professor, Computer Science
  • Affiliated Associate Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Faculty Advisor, Humane Interface Design Enterprise

Links of Interest

Area of Expertise

  • Mobile App Design and Usability
  • Software Development and Processes
  • Computer Science Education
  • Emeritus Professor, Humanities
  • $1.4M+
    national and regional funding
  • 14M
    data variables across 600,000 records
  • 6+
    cities inspired to do similar projects including Madrid, Spain and New York