The Rise And Fall Of Empires. On A Map Of Course

But sometimes the data does surface and then people make maps of what used to be. Take the British Empire for example. When I went to school in the early 1970’s there were maps of the world in almost every class room and they were old maps. Whether down to a lack of funding or as a reminder of what Britain used to be, these maps still showed the extent of the empire, in a pale shade of reddish-pink.

british-empire

Or there’s the growing and then shrinking extent of the Roman Empire, spanning 27 BC through to 1453 AD.

roman-empire

There’s a whole load more Empire maps over at io9.com. However nice it is to see maps of the past, I have the same problems with these maps as I did of the maps of the changing boundaries of Europe. A static map or an animated GIF cry out for the modern interactivity of a web map. Looking at the maps above I just want to pan and zoom them and run the timeline forwards and backwards. But finding the geospatial data to do this is no easy thing.

But as a comment on my post on the maps of Europe pointed out, there is some data out there. Maybe when I get back from my summer vacation I’ll make the empire maps that I want to see.

Photo Credits: Roman Empire map and British Empire map on Wikimedia.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Written by Gary

A self-professed map addict, Gary has worked in the mapping and location space for over 20 years through a combination of luck and occasional good judgement. Gary is co-founder of Malstow Geospatial, which provides handmade, professional geospatial consulting. A Fellow of the RGS, he tweets about maps, writes about them...
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