Monday, September 24, 2012

A digital base map of the Greco-Roman world


As announced on various lists:
Dear all,

Colleagues may be interested to learn of a new online resource that is now available and free to use.

Some of you may have been aware of the ongoing efforts in the Digital Classics community to use digital technology to visualise and help understanding of the geography of the ancient world. Projects such as Pleiades (, a gazetteer and graph of ancient places, for example, or Harvard's Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (, which is a layered historical atlas, or Antiquity À-la-carte (, an online GIS application.

Today the Pelagios team are pleased to announce the latest digital map, built on these previous initiatives and the magisterial Barrington Atlas. What marks this work out is the fact that its map tiles can be used as a background layer for use in a fashion similar to modern mapping applications like Google Maps. We are releasing these map tiles under a CC-BY license, which means that anyone is allowed not only to browse the map but also to use the tiles for presenting their own data or for building on them their own applications.

The basic background map (using Google Maps API) can be accessed here:
Information about the making of the map, sources of geodata, and a legend to the symbols, can be found here:
And for a fully interactive implementation of the digital map, which shows one of the many ways it might be used, see here:

Work on creating these digital map tiles, made possible by the Pelagios project, has been carried out by Johan Åhlfeldt of Regnum Francorum Online ( We would like to thank Johan for this massive undertaking, our funders JISC, and the many other people in the Digital Classics community (esp. those at Pleiades) for making this possible.

For those of you who would like more information about the work carried out, Johan has blogged about it here: We see this initiative as part of an ongoing collaborative enterprise and we make every effort to improving this as a resource. In due course, the Pelagios partners will be populating the map with links to online resources related to the ancient places represented. In the meantime we welcome feedback.

best wishes