The Historical GIS Research Network



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This list is not exhaustive but we aim to include all of the major historical GIS websites plus additional relevant websites. Other portals are also available such as those from: the GeoHumanities Special Interest Group of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, the Humanities GIS Zotero Library, and the University of Saskatchewan's HGIS Lab.

Resources are classed under:
National Historical GISs
Other online Historical GIS projects
Historical map servers and other data sources
Other useful sites

National Historical GISs:

The Great Britain Historical GIS:
The US National Historical GIS:
The China Historical GIS:
Chinese Civilization in Time and Space:
Taiwan History and Culture in Time and Space:
The Belgian Historical GIS:
The Historical GIS for the Netherlands:
Historical GIS Germany:
Russian Historical GIS:
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Other online Historical GIS projects:

European Communications and Transport Infrasturctures: Performance and potentials, 1825-2000: Maps on communications and transport in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe.

Digital Atlas of the History of Europe since 1500: A site that creates a visual and interactive history of the European state system since 1500.

Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the American city: A site that very effectively maps change in St. Louis over time produced by Colin Gordon who produced a 2008 book on the same topic.

Virtual Kyoto: A project creating a 3D representation of the history of Kyoto, Japan.

The Occupational Structure of Nineteenth Century Britain: A project that has used GIS extensively as part of its research.

Euratlas: A small business based in Switzerland specialising in georeferenced historical vector data.

Digital Gazetteer of the Song Dynasty:  A database that records the 3,828 units that existed at any time in the administrative hierarchy of China's Song dynasty (960-1276 CE); along with attributes such as population, civil and military ranks, and locations of centers of state industry.

Imagining London: An online project exploring the social, economic and morphological dimensions of the history of London, Ontario.

Mapový portál projektu Historického atlasu měst: A Czech site giving historical maps of Prague.

Peasants and Jews: Anti-Semitism and Rural Politics in Northwest Germany, 1871-1933: Currently under development, this site uses GIS to help with an analysis of the

Mapping the Hearth Tax: A range of maps of the Hearth Tax of England and Wales from the 1670s and 1680s.

Mapping Medieval Chester: Explores the city of Chester in the north-west of England c1200-1500

Regnum Francorum Online: Interactive maps of early medieval Europe 614-840. Covers the Frankish kingdoms of Merovingian and Carolingian Europe.

Colonial Williamsburg: Based at the Digital History Center at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, this project has a rich array of content about Williamsbug in the eighteenth century.

E-Geopolis: This project is recording information on urban areas of 10,000 people or more from all over the world. Covers the period from 1800 to the present.

Mapping Du Bois: A project aimed at recreating the survey W.E.B. Du Bois conducted in 1896 that served as the basis for his 1899 classic, The Philadelphia Negro.

Bam 3D: A virtual representation of the citadel of Bam in Iran which was destroyed by an earthquake in 2003

A Tale of Two Cities: Community Differentiation in 19th Century America: A project that is comparing two small cities in the US in the second half of the nineteenth century using individual-level data.

5th Street Cemetery Necrogeographical Study: An extensive school-based project looking at a cemetery in Idaho.

Mapping Medieval Townscapes: A digital atlas of the new towns of Edward I: The project that built this atlas is described at: These sites both contain information about medieval townscapes in England and Wales.

The Gough Map Online: The Gough Map is a medieval map of the British Isles. This project has created an online version of it.

Victorian Railways: An Introduction to Historical GIS: A resource that uses GIS to teach history to undergraduates based on the impact of the growth of the railways on Victorian England and Wales.

Vision of Britain through Time: Information from the Great Britain Historical GIS and elsewhere put online.

Staffordshire Past Track: A large GIS database of images of Staffordshire's past.

The International Dunhuang Project: A large project based at the British Library concerned with locating artefacts from the Silk Road in time and space.

Holocaust Geography: A site based at the University of Texas concerned with using GIS to explore the history of the Holocaust.

The Valley of the Shadow Project: A large site that uses GIS to structure and represent data about two US counties around the time of the Civil War.

The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A large site that uses GIS to help structure and present data about the village of Salem, Mass. around the time of the famous witchcraft trials.

Social Explorer: A large amount of data from the US National Historical GIS put online through an easy-to-use interface.

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries: A major site recording changes to US county boundaries over time. The site includes downloads of some of its material. Hosted by the Newberry Library, Chicago.

Digital Atlas of American Religion: A large amount of data on US religion available through a map-based interface.

West Virginia University Laboratory of Geographical Information Science: A number of projects particularly concerned with using virtual reality techniques in historical GIS.

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Historical map servers and other data sources:

Historical Collections on Historical geographical data from the US government.
World Historical Dataverse
: A project that aims to create a global historical database and gazetteer.
Geohack. Allows users to map data through a variety of webservers.
US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Their Geospatial One Stop service has historical collections under Communities - Special Interests
IEG Map Server: Freely available maps primarily of Germany and Central Europe.
The David Rumsey Map Collection: Large numbers of scans from historical maps and gazetteers
The ECAI Clearinghouse: A variety of historical datasets, many freely available.
The Arts and Humanities Data Service, History: The AHDS provides a large amount of historical data to the UK Higher Education Community. Some of it is in GIS form.
Historic Digimap, UKBorders and other resources: Edina provides a large amount of data to subscribed users, particularly from UK Higher Education. Historic Digimap contains scans of historical maps of the UK, UKBorders holds historical and contemporary boundary data for the UK.
The Geography Network: of the data here is modern.
Global Landcover Facility: A large amount of satellite imagery. Older data may be free or cheap.
The Alexandria Digital Library: A distributed digital library containing information that may be of interest to historians.
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The Social Science History Association:
The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative:
The Association of American Geographers:
The Association for History and Computing:
The European Social Science History Conference:
The Royal Geographical Society with the IBG :
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Note: Mainstream commercial software is not listed here

TimeMap: A free GIS data viewer specifically written for people with temporal data.
ESRI’s ArcExplorer: A free download of a GIS data viewer.
GenMap: A very cheap GIS data viewer written for historical and genealogical purposes.
GeoDa: A useful, free piece of software written to allow spatial analysis with GIS data.
SAM:  Spatial Analysis in Macroecology. Although originally written for ecologists this is another useful spatial analysis software package.
GWR: Geographically Weighted Regression. A regression technique that allows parameters to vary over space.
SANET: Spatial Analysis on a Network. A toolbox for analysing events that occur on networks.
MapServer: An open sources development environment for putting GIS data on the web.
GeoTools: A Java library for manipulating GIS data.

For a detailed lists of Open Source or free GIS software see: or

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Other useful sites:

Colorbrewer: An excellent website that provides effective choices of shading for thematic maps.
The Centre for Spatially Integrated Social Science: A useful portal for resources related to applying GIS to the social sciences.
The Open GIS Consortium: A not-for-profit organisation concerned with setting standards for GIS.
The Data Documentation Initiative: Concerned with establishing standards for documenting social science datasets.

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(c) Ian Gregory, 2007
Page Last Updated: 16/10/15