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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Historical GIS and Spatial Humanities

A guide for resources pertaining to Historical GIS and the Spatial Humanities. Topics covered are where to find historical maps and data and creating your own.

What is Historical GIS and the Spatial Humanities?

                                                                                    (image from the Library of Congress)

Historical Geographic Information Systems (GIS) involves using historical geographic data, historical maps, and spatial analysis tools to visualize and study historical information. GIS for history often involves digitizing historical scanned maps, mapping census records, archeological data, or any historical documents that provide some type of locational-based information. Historical GIS allows researchers to examine how the landscape has changed overtime and how geographic factors have influenced historical events or patterns.

Spatial Humanities combines humanities disciplines with spatial tools and methods in an attempt to gain new perspectives.

Historical GIS and Spatial Humanities both make use of spatial tools that allow researchers to explore the connections between space, time, and human experiences in innovative ways. 

When creating a historical GIS project you will need access to the required software, training, historical maps, photographs and datasets. This guide will provide an overview of Historical GIS and tips on where to find historical data, maps, and photographs as well as training materials, tools, and resources to aid in Historical GIS  and Spatial Humanities research projects.