Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Nebraska Anthropologist (2024) 30


Copyright 2024, Robert Hawkins, Used by permission


With the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror found in 2014 and 2016, the future of work on the 1845 Franklin Expedition mystery now comes down to searching King William Island, Canada for the fates of the many missing crew members. There appears to be, however, little use of GIS in public literature to identify the route the crew took south across the island. While finding this would be near impossible, especially with over 175 years of change to the environment, GIS has the potential to offer some new insight into what happened, and at the very least, provide a visualization of the island’s difficult landscape. By using a suitability analysis, the walkability of King William Island can be assessed to identify the potential courses the crew took south. This work by no means is intended to be definitive, but rather it is hoped that it will encourage further and more in-depth uses of GIS to the mystery on land.