Fixed Mapping: Europe

Fixed map of Europe

If I must say one thing, it’s that historical mapping looked easy until I tried it. As you should be able to see, in order to make my map look even remotely accurate, I had to warp it significantly, and around 30 points of reference make it fit the modern map. I can’t imagine the number and accuracy of locations used for this kind of mapping in a serious project. The final map can be accessed via ArcGIS, QGIS, WMTS, TileJSON, and XYZ. If this historical map is accurate, it could be used to record the way land masses have changed over time, that is coastlines and other specific shape. It could also be mapped with other historical data.

As for problems with georeferencing, I was only able to identify some identical landmasses, and otherwise I had to use cities, whose centers may have varied in location over time. The accuracy of this map is not going to perfect; I don’t think that even if I added more points, it could be. Specific to this site, you can see from the link to my map that for some reason it never updated, in spite of my saving the map (Iceland especially seemed far off before I fixed it). But even with these issues, certain map formats and maps that are not historical would not fit well on this structure. We discussed, for example, mapping Narnia, but this would additionally be problematic for something like Pangea Ultima, I think, unless it was on the exact same mapped form.

As for research questions, I think that questions about historical content, like the Gettysburg map, wouldn’t necessarily be aided by mapping them on a traditional world map; instead, the data there relied more on having historical data about the land masses and troops of the time, thus comparing multiple historical maps rather than a historical and modern one.

Thanks for reading! -Kelly_H



  1. Hi Kelly, I really enjoyed reading your blog. It very interesting to see that you had to pick more than thirty points to accurately reference the historical map onto the modern one. I guess that I just got really lucky and did an easy one. It is a good point that the Gettysburg map wouldn’t necessarily be aided by this technology because we are focusing more on landscape and troop size.

  2. I think you bring up an interesting point in that if a historical map is accurate we can use it to track changes over time. The only issue with this statement is that’s a big IF – how can we know if it’s accurate or not? Archaelogical finds maybe, but then I’m not sure how we could use that to track changes in land masses. Still, it’s an incredibly interesting idea and I would love to see if there are some projects that put this into practice.

  3. Hi Kelly, I like your rectified map! It seems pretty accurate! I agree with your point that the accuracy of the map is crucial when it comes to georectifying the map, and that multiple maps can help increase the accuracy rather than using one mp to compare it with the world map. I too rectified an older map onto the modern world map, and I really understand your point!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.