Sunday, December 20, 2015

The History Maps of the Week


It has been a good week for fans of history maps, with the release of two interactive maps dedicated to mapping the world's history.

First out of the blocks was Chronas. Imagine Google Maps with a date control which allows you to view an atlas of the world for any period in history. That is the ambitious aim of Chronas.

Chronas allows you to view an interactive map of the world showing the country boundaries for any date from the year 1 AD to the year 2000. If you select a year from the time slider, running along the bottom of the map, the map will update to show how the world looked at the chosen time.

Each of these historical maps is fully interactive. If you click on a country or geographical area on the map a Wikipedia article on the selected historical region will open in the map sidebar. For example, if you select the year 573 AD from the time slider, you can select the Visigoths region on the map to learn more about the Visigoths from Wikipedia.


Also released this week was American Panorama, a superb new historical mapping project from the University of Richmond.

You may remember that last year the university released an interactive mapped showcase of the nearly 700 maps in the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. That interactive map allows you to view maps from Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, published in 1932. The Atlas contained hundreds of maps covering a vast range of social, economic and political aspects of life in the Untied States, all of which can now be viewed on top of an interactive Leaflet map on the university's website.

Richmond University has now unveiled a new project to map important themes and events in American history. American Panorama currently has four interactive maps exploring the early history of the United States. The first four maps from the project so far are; The Forced Migration of Enslaved People, The Overland Trails, Foreign-Born Population and Canals.

There will be many more maps to come exploring other aspects of American history.


Two Thousand Years of Urban Growth is a 3D globe visualizing the history of population change around the world over the last 2,000 years. The map was made by Esri using their new ArcGIS API for JavaScript with D3.js.

City populations around the world are shown on the globe with 3d bar charts placed over each city. The timeline slide control allows you to adjust the date in order to view the city populations for different dates throughout history. If you select a city's bar on the globe you can also view a line chart showing the city's population over the last 2,000 years.
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