Posted by: bluesyemre | January 2, 2018

Digital Atlas of the #RomanEmpire


Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

© 2015-2017 Johan Åhlfeldt
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History
Lund University, Sweden

  • About Information about the project.
  • GeoJSON API for reuse of the geodata of the Digital Atlas.
  • Recently added places 
  • Recently changed places
  • Together with Klokan Technologies GmbH, we are developing a new Roman background map using vector tiles technology. The project is supported by Pelagios Commons and is described in two articles (first articlesecond article). Source material and a preview of the vector map is available on Github. Maps built with vector technology enable maps to be styled in real time, displaying place names in different languages, rotation and tilting of the map to achieve a 3D effect, among other features. 2017-12-02
  • Raster tiles for Iberian peninsula are newly rendered as a result of the Iberian Roman roads layer by Pau de Soto and the Mercator-e project. A good starting point to explore the highly accurate and detailed Roman roads layer is Barcelona, Roman Barcino. 2017-09-28
  • New overlay of Celtic Viereckschanzen in Southern Germany using the Atlas der spätkeltischen Viereckschanzen Bayerns by Klaus Schwarz (1959), the web site Kraftvolle Orte by Stefan Gröschler and the Bayerischer Denkmal-Atlas.
    Load the layer Viereckschanzen, keltische Viereckschanzen in Bayern und Baden-Württemberg and move the center of the map to Augusta Vindelicum, modern Augsburg. This far more than 200 sites are compiled with evidence in the Monuments Atlas and the book by Schwarz.
  • The DARE gazetteer is available in Pelagios gazetteer interconnection format. The dump file (gzipped RDF/Turtle, 1.5MB, ~27.000 places) is available at Data is released under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.

 News about the Digital Atlas on Twitter @JohanAhlfeldt

This project is part of Pelagios – the networking medium for ancient places

A first version of a tiled base map of the Roman Empire was created in 2012 by the author, in collaboration with the Pelagios project. A second version was created afterwards and became part of an online historical geographic information system (GIS) called the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire (DARE) hosted by the Department of Archaeology and Classical History, Lund University, Sweden and available at The map was inspired by the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (Talbert, 2000) and was built upon digitization efforts carried out by the Pleiades and DARMC projects even though it became necessary to return to the original map for additional data in order to produce a functional digital map. DARE aims at a high level of accuracy and the integration of digital resources such as satellite imagery, national topographic maps, source texts, other source material and scholarly literature. Since 2012 we have worked to improve the map regarding both its appearance, quality of location, meta data describing properties of the ancient place and links to related digital resources. The most prominent change is however the addition of more than 9000 places (and buildings) with a different provenance than the Barrington Atlas. The Barrington Atlas was limited to the physical size of the printed atlas, limitations that do not apply the same way to a digital map. Most places that have been added appear in national heritage databases which increasingly have become available online the last years, for instance, the UK based heritage databases Pastscape, Canmore and Coflein covering England, Scotland and Wales respectively. Another important change in the new version of the map is the rendering of natural and semi natural areas (forest, grassland etc.) and bathymetry. In comparison with the map created for the Pleiades project, the map created at Lund University contains an additional zoom level, i. e. zoom level 11. The Digital Atlas and its place database is an active project which is updated at least once a month. In 2015, 822 places were added.

The map itself is also used by Pelagios, Pleiades and other projects to provide a more suitable historical context for their mapping applications. Its gazetteer is implemented in the Pelagios project. The base map is Open Data and can be used by anyone under a Creative Commons BY-SA licence. The projection of the map is Spherical Mercator (EPSG:3857) compatible with most Web mapping software and easy to implement. The maximum zoom level 11 corresponds to a scale at 1:250 000.

In DARE, ancient sites are organized as places and buildings (subsites), each with a distinct place type and location. The buildings are not rendered on the base map because of their close proximity to the places they belong to, but are instead available as thematic overlays (e.g. amphitheaters, theaters, temples etc. respectively). Meta data about places and buildings are available next to the map.

News about the map is published on Twitter @JohanAhlfeldt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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


%d bloggers like this: