Project Title: Linking Linked Places: Modeling Historical Movement
Awardees: Karl Grossner (1), Lex Berman (2), Rainer Simon (3)
Home Institutions: (1) World History Center, University of Pittsburgh (2) Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, (3) Pelagios; Austrian Institute of Technology
Project Overview: Many of the places recorded in the growing number of Pelagios-compatible historical gazetteers have been stops on journeys and trade routes, as well as sources and sinks for flows of commodities, migrants, and information. Just as users of Peripleo can now discover items associated with a place that are catalogued in multiple linked datasets, it will be worthwhile to enable discovery of attested journeys, named historical routes, and many kinds of flows for which that place was a waypoint.
Researchers studying historical movement across the landscape require a robust and flexible framework for representing such phenomena, a relatively simpler interconnection format for sharing core elements of their data, and tools to assist data creation and transformations. Because geographic movement is intrinsically temporal, we undertook development of a GeoJSON-T extension to the popular GeoJSON format for representing geographic features. We then created seven exemplar datasets in GeoJSON-T and tested the model’s efficacy in Linked Places, a pilot interface for browsing data about attested journeys, routes and flows. The application renders the places and segments of all three types of movement on a map, and displays related temporal information in one of three types of visualizations: a sequence timeline, a temporal histogram, or a period timeline.
Linked Places is a linked data application, in that it consumes data about places and periods programmatically, with live calls to several APIs: the Pleiades gazetteer, the China Historical GIS gazetteer (TGAZ), the PeriodO gazetteer of period definitions, and the GeoNames gazetteer.
Work on Linked Places has continued following the 2016 term of the Pelagios Resource Development Grant. Data about named historical routes will be included in the new World-Historical Gazetteer project, which has also become the setting for further refinements of GeoJSON-T.