Last updated: June 13, 2024


United States

The University of Sydney has produced an interactive map of Harlem featuring information drawn from newspapers, legal records and other historical sources of life between 1915-1930.  (There has been some interesting discussion about the use of this data as a representation of everyday life in Harlem; most of the references are listed in the blog.)

The New Amsterdam History Center supports the Mapping Early New York project, which presents digitized version of early maps of New Amsterdam/York, including a 3D version of the nascent city.

Stanford University hosts the Spatial History Project which  is “a place for a collaborative community of scholars to engage in creative visual analysis to further research in the field of history.” Their Gallery includes a number of stunning animated maps and other tools.

Explore Philadelphia with these historical sites: PhilaPlace is “an interactive Web site, created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, that connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.” The city of Philadelphia can also be investigated via the PhillyHistory photographic archive.

The Smithsonian is hosting an interactive version of Anne Kelly Knowles’ famous What General Lee Could See viewshed (famous in the GIS world!).  This map is beautiful work!

Digital Scholarship Lab - University of Richmond. The Lab develops innovative digital humanities projects that contribute to research and teaching at and beyond the University of Richmond. It seeks to reach a wide audience by developing projects that integrate thoughtful interpretation in the humanities and social sciences with innovations in new media. The mapping projects include:


The University of Oregon has produced an interactive web site featuring Giambattista Nolli’s 1748 map of Rome in addition to explanatory articles on architecture, landscape and social/political features of this historical map.

Mapping Gothic France “builds upon a theoretical framework derived from the work of Henri Lefèbvre that seeks to establish linkages between the architectural space of individual buildings, geo-political space, and the social space resulting from the interaction among multiple agents — builders and users.”

Locating London “allows you to search a wide body of digital resources relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London, and to map the results on to a fully GIS compliant version of John Rocque’s 1746 map.”

Funded by the British Academy, Mapping the Lakes “maps out two textual accounts of journeys through the landscape of the Lake District: Thomas Gray’s tour of the region in the autumn of 1769; and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘circumcursion’ of the area in August 1802.”

Ancient World

Three great resources for the Peutinger Map: the multi-layered viewer Peutinger Map from Richard Talbert’s Rome’s World (and more resources at the Cambridge site); the clickable Complete Tabula Peutingeriana compared with a modern map; and Omnes Viae, the map reconstructed over Google Maps with a Latin route planner.

Antiquity a la Carte is a web-based GIS interface and interactive digital atlas of the ancient world, featuring accurate historical, cultural, and geographical data produced by the AWMC in addition to the entire Pleiades Project feature set.  The map is completely searchable with customizable features, allowing for the creation of any map covering Archaic Greece to Late Antiquity.

Pompeii Italy Ruins is a Google Map visualization that utilizes street view to create an immersive exploration experience.

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.

Harvard's Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations (DARMC) makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds.

Myths on Maps is a searchable, interactive web-based map displaying the geographic locations recorded for Greek myths in Apollodorus’ Library. The accompanying reader displays the original text, annotated to display characters, places and events. Through the map and reader, users can explore connections between places, events and characters. This data, presented visually, easily shows the geographic connections which were self-evident to the original tellers and audience.

Digital Augustan Rome is envisaged as a living resource for the study of Augustan Rome, one that will be able to be updated and modified as modern research brings new information about the Augustan city to light.


Mapping History Project - University of Oregon. Interactive and animated map representations of historical problems and/or historical events, developments, and dynamics across multiple countries. The areas covered include American, European, Latin American and African history.

Hypercities is a collaborative research and educational platform developed by UCLA and USC for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

Harvard University’s China Historical GIS is a project “to establish a database of populated places and historical administrative units for the period of Chinese history between 221 BCE and 1911 CE.” This site also features some resources for Japan.

East Asia in Geographic Perspective - Columbia University. An interactive mapping platform of five geographical elements for the study of China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Animated Atlas of African History 1879-2002 - Brown University. Gives a year-by-year presentation of selected themes in the history of Africa between 1879 and 2002. Toggle buttons allow you to select which thematic layers to activate.  Choices include: Territory names, Changing boundaries, imperial rulers and political systems, Violent conflicts, Economic and demographic trends.

Social Sciences

The CDC hosts the Chronic Disease GIS Exchange which is “an on-line forum for public health professionals and community leaders to learn and share techniques for using GIS to enhance chronic disease prevention and treatment.”  This site includes a Map Gallery and several GIS tutorials.

Social Explorer provides data maps — including time series — of census data. Hamilton College licenses the full professional version of this website, so you can create, save and share your own projects.

One may also explore census data and demographic trends with Census Scope, brought to you by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN) at the University of Michigan.

The Diversities and Disparities Project examines changes in American society in the recent past. Create maps of census data for counties and neighborhoods anywhere in the U.S. and as far back as 1940.

The Digital Scholarship Lab of the University of Richmond has released the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. This project is a digitally-enabled version of the original atlas released in 1932 by Charles O. Paullin, deepened by time-enabled layers and connected to databases of demographic information.

The Center for Urban Research at CUNY works with governmental agencies and non-profits to analyze census data and provides their results at these illuminating websites.

The Urban Observatory "is an interactive exhibit that gives you the chance to compare and contrast maps of cities around the world–all from one location. It aims to make the world’s data both understandable and useful."

Get a quick view of unemployment statistics at the Bureau of Labor Statistics with interactive state/county/MSA maps.


The EPA developed the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool, an interactive map tool based on nationally consistent data and an approach that combines environmental and demographic indicators in maps and reports.

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre developed the Global Surface Water Explorer to map the extent and temporal distribution of water surfaces at the global scale over the past 32 years and provide statistics on the extent and change in those water surfaces. The New York Times Interactive team created time-lapse animations of some of those areas.

The National Climatic Data Center at NOAA provides the Climate Data Online interactive map tool to help you understand the current drought and other climate issues. You can search by geographic regions, climate themes and various observational data.

And NASA hosts the Global Climate Change website, which provides evidenced-based information on the world-wide affects of global warming.

Surging Seas is just one of the tools provided by Climate Central to inform the public of research on global climate change.

The USGS released an application called Streamer which enables you to “explore our nation’s major streams by tracing upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty.”

The Hudson River Flood Impact Decision Support System is an interactive map application that allows users to evaluate the scale of potential flooding for tidally-affected shorelines of the Hudson River Valley and Westchester County under a variety of sea level rise and storm scenarios.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains eBird which is a real-time, online checklist program; birdwatchers can upload data and then explore migration patterns and other resources.

The iMapInvasives Network is comprised of organizations that host the iMapInvasives database in their respective state or province. The iMapInvasives Partnership facilitates the management and sharing of invasive species information, including the extent of infestations, search efforts, and treatment outcomes.

The Conservation Biology Institute has created Data Basin, which is “a free system that connects you with spatial datasets, non-technical tools, and a network of scientists and practitioners. You can explore and download a vast library of datasets, connect to external data sources, upload and publish your own datasets, connect to experts, create working groups, and produce customized maps that can be easily share.”

Not really maps, but cool visualizations: Wind Map of wind currents in the US; Perpetual Ocean of world ocean currents; and World Ocean Currents.


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