Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an opportunity and a challenge for digital history: Exploring approaches to maps, aerial photographs and spatial statistics

Marburg, Germany, 14.-15. September 2017

Workshop unter der Leitung von Christian Lotz, Dariusz Gierczak und Barbara Fichtl (

14.-15. September 2017, Marburg, Herder-Institut

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide a wide variety of opportunities for historical research. Gathering, exploring and visualizing large amounts of data, GIS open new perspectives on the spatial dimensions of history. At the same time, debates about the methodological frameworks and challenges of using GIS in the humanities are at high tide. Driven by the impulses of Critical Geography and Critical Cartography, the debates focus on the reliability and comparability of sources that were produced decades or even centuries ago, as well as the concepts and categories which are applied to phenomena of different time periods and regional contexts.

Please register via E-mail until September 13th to Dariusz Gierczak (


14 September 2017

13:00-13:30    Welcome (Coffee and refreshments)

13:30-13:40    Christian Lotz (Herder Institute): Introduction

13:40-14:00     Torsten Veit (University of Greifswald): Mapping networks. Bayrische Stuckhandwerker im Ostseeraum des 18. Jahrhunderts

14:00-14:20     Agnieszka Zagańczyk-Neufeld (Ruhr University Bochum): Mapping religion – eine digitale Karte abweichender Religiosität im Russischen Reich (ca. 1700-1930)

14:20-14:40     Arnoud de Waaijer (Technical University Delft): Mapping the spatial impact of the oil industry in the countries around the North Sea – exploring the properties of digital cartography as a research tool

14:40-15:40     Discussion

15:40-16:00     Break

16:00-16:20     Tino Mager (Technical University Delft): The ArchiMediaL project – Deep learning approaches to linking historical architecture, its representations and sites

16:20-16:40     Andreas Dix (University of Bamberg) & Andreas Kunz (Mainz): FNZ-GIS - A historical information system of the states of Central Europe in the early modern period

16:40-17:00     Marc Friede & Dariusz Gierczak (Herder Institute): Ein Digitalisierungskonzept zur Erschließung von Senkrechtluftbildern in Deutschland – Metadaten und Recherchewerkzeuge

17:00-18:00     Discussion

19:00               Dinner


15 September 2017

09:00-09:30    Welcome (Coffee and refreshments)

09:30-09:50     Piet Gerrits (Koç University İstanbul): Mapping and geo-spatially analysing economic and population geography of mid-nineteenth century Bursa

09:50-10:10     Ahmet Baş (Technical University Istanbul): A use of GIS in exploring socio-spatial conjunctions or distinctiveness among Ottoman cities from the 1450s to the 1700s

10:10-10:30     Marion Starzacher (University of Linz): Town tales – Visualization of the development of the city of Graz, based upon historical maps

10:30-11:30     Discussion

11:30-11:50     Break

11:50-12:10     Arno Bosse (University of Oxford): Early modern places and letters online

12:10-12:30     Andreas Buchholz (National Collection of Aerial Photography, Edinburgh): Geoinformation Products Derived From Historical Aerial Photographs

12:30-13:30     Discussion

As the workshop is part of the project on "Conceptualizing digital access to aerial photography", generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Herder Institute will cover travel and accommodation costs for all workshop participants.