Historical Mapping and Geographic Information Systems

Course Description: 

Growing recognition of cross-disciplinary applicability and importance made Geographic Information Systems (GIS) a popular approach in historical studies. Until lately maps development and spatial analysis had been a prerogative of cartographers and, later, experts in specialized computer software (early GIS packages). However, latest advances in computer hardware and software have opened this area to other disciplines and allowed historians to enhance their own studies. The course reviews potential areas of GIS application to Historical Studies. The primary focus is at geospatial data visualization including internet data mining, datasets processing and maps development using different software packages.

The course consists of
• Introductory theoretical sessions focused on principles of geospatial data visualization, cartography and GIS basics. Various desktop and online examples of Historical GIS are to be reviewed;
• Practical sessions on learning practical GIS skills. Special attention is paid to mapping using free open source packages;
• Supervised students’ research on individual term projects. Topics for projects can be linked to research interests and theses needs.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course students should be able to
• understand principles and value of mapping and spatial analysis;
• acquire geospatial and other related datasets useful for mapping;
• develop own datasets based on different data sources;
• create simple maps using several mapping packages (e.g. qGIS and GEPro).


.The assessment is based upon student’s performance using the following categories:
• class participation: active students participation in class discussions is expected and encouraged. The content of practical sessions can be tailored to specific needs identified in class;
• practical sessions: several in-class exercises have to be completed
• graded individual project: historical mapping project should be developed and presented at the end of the course by every course participant (both audit and grade). The project can be a part of thesis research.