Map-Related Teaching Resources

Research & Instructional Design


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 site as a representation of everyday life in Harlem; most of the references are listed in the blog.)

The New York Public Library's Maps Division developed the Map Warper, an online tool that allows the easy alignment of historical (mostly fire insurance) and digital maps. This alignment allows one to connect historical maps to many other sources of data to further the analysis of the history of New York City.

Sherman's March - University of Maryland. Interactive maps that detail General Sherman's great march during the Civil War. This Mapping Memory project is organized around both place and narrative. It consists of five maps, each one representing a genre of tales about the March.

Explore both sides of Pennsylvania 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.
Pittsburgh Mapping and Historical Site Viewer "provides a window into the past, allowing anyone to see how the city took shape over time."

For projects involving historical census data, try the American Migrations Project, "a resource for teaching and research about African American and Latino migrations that have shaped American history."

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 Scholars 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."

Hypermedia Berlin: Developed through a collaboration of faculty and staff at UCLA and CUNY Baruch. This is an interactive web-based research platform and collaborative authoring environment for mapping. Used for teaching classes on German history and culture, geography, architectural history, urban planning, and new media studies. See also City of Berlin map archive.

Hypercities - 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.

The US Holocaust Museum uses Google Earth to map various aspects of the Holocaust and World War II. This site includes additional resources and bibliographies.

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.

Digital Roman Forum - From the UCLA Cultural Visualization Laboratory. A digital model of the Roman Forum as it appeared in late antiquity. The notional date of the model is June 21, 400 A.D. ... This project promotes a spatial understanding of the built environment from a 3-D perspective.

"During the fourth and fifth centuries CE, statues populating the open areas of the Roman Forum preserved memories of the individuals represented in portraits. Visualizing Statues in the Late Antique Roman Forum contextualizes the now-dispersed statues and their inscribed bases in the public space of the late antique Forum."

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.

The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land "is an international project that brings together experts in information technology and archaeology ... to create the first on-line digital atlas of the region ... the tens of thousands of recorded archaeological sites ... are entered into a comprehensive database along with site maps, photographs and artifacts."


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 of African History 1879-1992 - 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.

The Maps in Time application is a software tool which allows you to track geopolitical changes throughout the 20th century. This helps visualize changes in empires, states, and territories.

More of a blog than an interactive resource, Mid-Afternoon Map aims to be "the number one Ottoman/Turkish/Middle Eastern/Balkan cartography blog on the internet." They also feature a map list and weekly podcasts on Middle Eastern history and issues.


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."

Google Lit Trips "are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story. "

In conjunction with the "Writing Britain" exhibition, the British Library has set up Pin-a-Tale, which is a crowd-sourced map enabling readers to add sites and information of their favorite literary tales.

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.

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.

Another tool for census data exploration via mapping is the National Historical GIS Site from IPUMS, which is an incredible source of demographic data in itself.

The Digital Scholarship Lab of the University of Richmond has just 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.

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

The Assets and Opportunity Initiative provides an interactive mapping tool that illustrates net worth by county, but also provides a nice snapshot of demographic data by city or county.


The EPA has just released 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.  States of Change is "a multimedia collection of stories, research, and data, about climate change on a local level."

The USGS just 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 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.

Mediterranean Archaeology GIS (MAGIS) - Housed at DePauw University. An online database of archaeological surveys for the Mediterranean region that can be searched using Google Earth. They also maintain an online spatial search engine built on GIS software.

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."

A Summary of Historical GIS Projects - A list of scholarly works catalogued by the Association of American Geographers. Many of the projects listed draw from web-mapping applications.

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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Last updated: September 1, 2017

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