skip to navigation skip to content
Mon 25 Oct, Tue 2 Nov, ... Wed 17 Nov 2021
15:00, ...

Provided by: Cambridge Digital Humanities


Bookings cannot be made on this event (Event is completed).

Other dates:

No more events

Register interest
Register your interest - if you would be interested in additional dates being scheduled.

Booking / availability

CDH Guided Project: GIS and digitisation of historical maps for research

Mon 25 Oct, Tue 2 Nov, ... Wed 17 Nov 2021


Places are limited, and participants must complete this form to participate in addition to booking online. We will write and confirm your participation by email. Bookings will remain open until 10 am, Wednesday 20 October; however, participants are encouraged to apply early as demand is likely to be high, and we will not be able to guarantee that your ArcGis Online account will be activated for the first session.

This CDH Guided Project series will offer an overview of GIS techniques applied to digitising historical material, from basic manual digitisation to using platforms for crowd-sourced digitisation. It will introduce GIS best practices and terminology and enable participants to design and launch their own projects. Each session will offer a 20-minute presentation, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A and one hour of practice, using ArcGis Online and a range of other GIS solutions. The teaching will be delivered by a team composed of a geospatial analyst, an architect and a historian, giving participants from all fields a broad range of views and expertise to draw on.

Participation in this guided project will also contribute to an ongoing research project led by Dr Alexis Litvine and Dr Isabelle Séguy (, which is (among other things) reconstructing historical transport networks for France. During the sessions, participants will help digitise nineteenth-century French roads using military maps. The work will ultimately be part of a journey planner (aka a "Google Maps") of the past for France.

Applications are invited from early career researchers and others at the University of Cambridge to join this project for four online sessions during the Guided Project phase in Oct-November. The project concludes with a live “mapathon” session on International GIS day, i.e. November 17. On this day, participants will all meet (in person preferably but online will be possible) for a friendly but competitive digitisation challenge against participants in a similar guided project held in France — pizza and refreshments will be provided.

Participants will need to commit to joining the live sessions and to set aside at least 3-4 hours of individual digitisation work. Participation in the final “mapathon” (online or in-person) is also expected, but no prior GIS knowledge is required.

Target audience

Early career researchers (PhD students and postdocs) at the University of Cambridge have priority for this Guided Project. However, other University of Cambridge staff and graduate students are also welcome to apply.


Number of sessions: 4

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Mon 25 Oct   15:00 - 16:30 15:00 - 16:30 Cambridge Digital Humanities Online   Alexis Litvine
2 Tue 2 Nov   15:00 - 16:30 15:00 - 16:30 Cambridge Digital Humanities Online   Alexis Litvine
3 Tue 9 Nov   15:00 - 16:30 15:00 - 16:30 Cambridge Digital Humanities Online   Alexis Litvine
4 Wed 17 Nov   16:00 - 18:00 16:00 - 18:00 Faculty of History, Seminar Room 5 map Alexis Litvine

The course will be delivered online, with live sessions taking place on Zoom. The final event will be offered both online and in-person.

System requirements

As part of this project, each participant will have an ArcGIS online account created, which can be retained as long as affiliated with the University. Thus allowing the creation of further mapping projects afterwards.

As the course will use primarily cloud-based computing (even for high-performance computing applications), no specialist computing hardware or specific operating system or software is necessary. However, if you only have a trackpad on your computer, we HIGHLY encourage you to borrow a mouse from a friend for this project; digitising old maps with a trackpad is very painful!

CDH Guided Project

Booking / availability