Category Archives: Hacking the Humanities


UCDH Hacking the Humanities Series: GIS

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Thursday 22nd and 29th May, KG06, 2-3 pm

Alison Watkins, 'The spatial turn in research: An introduction to GIS in the Humanities'


Our culture and memory are consistently and thoroughly interwoven with the concepts of space and place, ensuring that spatial information and questions are important to researchers from many disciplines. Digital humanists have been developing tools to help researchers for some time now. They’re capable of adding considerable value to both teaching and research: maps allow us to view research data in different ways, prompting us towards new research questions and engaging students with new types of learning. Tools like Neatline and Hypercities, and ground-breaking projects like Mapping the Republic of Letters, Digital Augustan Rome, and Locating London’s Past point the way to new ways of conceptualising humanities work.

GIS is a tool which offers the ability to visualise, measure, analyse and share spatial information. Understanding it is essential to anyone interested in applying spatial techniques in their research. The purpose of these two lectures is to give a very brief introduction to GIS as a foundation for further study.

Part 1, Thursday 22nd May: Why GIS? focusses on introducing GIS, what it is, how it works and some of its capabilities.


Further Reading

  • Bodenhamer, D. J. (2007). Creating a landscape of memory: The potential of humanities GIS. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 1(2), 97-110.
  • Jessop, M. (2008). The inhibition of geographical information in digital humanities scholarship. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 23(1), 39-50.

Part 2, Thursday 29th May: Geographic Data looks at possible sources and types of data and some of the traps for the unwary.


Further Reading