This page contains getting-started resources for historians interested in the basics of spatial history and hGIS, and for historians attending the AHA’s Getting Started in Digital History workshop on Jan. 2, 2014.
The PPT slide deck for this session is available here. Many of the links are provided in the PPT Notes field.
Tutorials & Introductions
- Railways and Population Change in Industrializing England: An Introduction to Historical GIS (Mt. Holyoke)
- What is GIS and when should I use it?
- A very basic tutorial on what GIS is, how its components work, and why it’s useful. Part of the Community Tool Box at University of Kansas
- Creating a narrated tour in Google Earth
- ArcGIS desktop tutorial
- Lists of historical GIS projects from
- US Historical Population Density
- New York city GIS project
- Neatline’s Lovecraft Exhibit
- Google Maps and Google Map Engine
- This combines some of the powerful layering that higher-end tools are famous for with an easy search-drag-drop tool for adding new points to a map.
- Google Maps and Google Fusion Tables
- Google Earth
- Lots of pre-existing layers available for import. Allows easy polygon editing and georeferenced map overlay. Interface can be frustrating, slow, because of high overhead. Allows GPS import from smartphone.
- Allows easy overlay of georeferenced historical maps but interface (both for creation and browsing) can be confusing.
- Open Street Map
- Like Google maps, but more flexible layers
- ArcGIS online
- A simplified online version of ArcGIS with a 30-day trial. Costly but very flexible and with an easier interface than ArcGIS desktop software. Allows GPS import from smartphone.
Free or very low cost, with low learning curves. Neogeography-oriented.
Cost varies; some technical expertise required.