VIII Update #21
We stayed home today and did some research, analysis, and report writing - since much of the town was hunkered down waiting for the tropical storm to hit. We got some rain and a little wind, but never anything really bad - the worst of the storm appears to have passed to our south.
We got scans of the maps that Yoji Kurata lent us, and I spent part of the day working on adapting some of them for use in our computer mapping application and part of the day trying to do essentially the same thing with some aerial photographs.
A big AHA! moment came when a fair-sized military map from mid-September 1944 was finally ready for us to look at with our GPS waypoints superimposed on it. We've been wondering how the Japanese set up their defensive perimeter (they believed right up to the end that we planned to invade the large island of Babeldaob - but we never did). We also wanted to know where their troops were concentrated, where their hospitals were, and especially where they might have held POWs. The map actually does answer a number of those questions (alas, not the one about POWs), and it confirms a number of hypotheses that we've developed over the last few years. Here's a part of that map (without our waypoints displayed - we don't publicly release our GPS data).
We've accumulated a ton of new information over the past several days, so tomorrow morning we're going to try to borrow an LCD projector and have a "what have we learned" session before planning the direction of further investigations in central Babeldaob.