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Ancient World Mapping Center

Creators: Jeffrey Becker, Richard Talbert
Contributors: Tom Elliott, Ryan Horne
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Apr 29, 2013 10:37 PM
Located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Ancient World Mapping Center promotes cartography, historical geography, and geographic information science as essential disciplines within the field of ancient studies through innovative and collaborative research, teaching, and community outreach activities.

The Ancient World Mapping Center and the Pleiades Project continue to collaborate closely on a number of initiatives related to the geography of the ancient world. The shared interests of AWMC and Pleaides converge on two key aspects, namely the accuracy and the usability of data relevant to toponyms and places in the ancient world.
  1. Coordinate data: AWMC and Pleiades share a vested interest in the accuracy and reliability of coordinate data for toponyms. These coordinates are vital to the map-making that AWMC undertakes on a regular basis; hence, in collaboration with Pleiades, it works to constantly verify and refine the resolution of coordinate data. AWMC maintains a long-range commitment to share vetted and verified coordinate data back to the Pleiades community.
  2. Physical base: AWMC continues to improve and refine base layers for the physical geography of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world. This includes refining geometry for coastlines and tagging polygons with place name data derived from the data sets of the Barrington Atlas and Pleiades. This includes developing a means for serving the physical base of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds as digital tiles.
  3. Metadata for places: AWMC’s director is involved in the editorial process of Pleiades; accordingly, AWMC is committed to generating and coordinating metadata content for Pleiades. This includes a major initiative to enter the ancient Greek names, in Greek characters, for sites within the geographical remit of the Barrington Atlas.
  4. Antiquity A la carte’ application 2.0 is a web-based GIS interface and interactive digital atlas of the ancient world, featuring accurate historical, cultural, and geographical data produced by the AWMC. The user interface allows for the placement of geographic features (physical and culture) from the joint databases of AWMC and the entire Pleiades Project feature set. The map is completely searchable with customizable features, allowing for the creation of any map covering Archaic Greece to Late Antiquity and beyond. Functionality also includes the creation of line work and shading to accompany maps, along with an 'export to .pdf'' function. AWMC welcomes feedback from community members on the experience of using the application and welcomes suggestions and comments. This AWMC project is expanding the realm of map-making to enable users to create of maps of the ancient world for their own use. This project relies heavily on coordinate data derived from Pleiades.
  5. AWMC API: In late 2012 AWMC launches an application programming interface (API) to allow users to export and employ AWMC data. In addition to the Pleiades uri (where applicable), users will also find each piece of data tagged with a unique AWMC identification number.
  6. Benthos: a digital atlas of ancient waters. Benthos is a new initiative of the Ancient World Mapping Center that aims to catalog and map the waters of the ancient Mediterranean basin, including both physical and cultural geography. The project will provide interactive maps of Mediterranean shipping networks, bathymetric data, and views of ancient coastlines. Currently the project is in a preliminary state, with a functional beta version of the application based off of Antiquity À-la-carte.
  7. AWMC is at work on completing a comprehensive digital map of the ancient geographer Strabo in collaboration with Prof. Duane Roller. AWMC aims to continue mapping the geographic treatises of ancient authors.