|Towards a Historical GIS of Europe: Existing resources and future prospects|
|Significant investments have been made in historical GIS resources by a large number of countries in Europe and elsewhere. Much of this is concerned with national historical GISs such as the Great Britain Historical GIS (GBHGIS), the Belgian Historical GIS, and the American National Historical GIS (NHGIS). These are typically large systems comprising census and related data for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries together with the boundaries used to publish them. In addition, there has been significant activity creating resources for specific research projects which could and should be utilised more generally.
To date these resources have been created in a piecemeal manner with no organisation at European level. Frequently little thought has been given to issues of long-term preservation and dissemination to a broad research audience. This paper is in two parts. The first part presents the results of a study that is investigating what historical GIS resources currently exist for Europe. This study has been performed as part of a longer-term strategy to build a common European historical GIS. The second part of the paper develops this theme further by exploring what a common European Historical GIS might be and what type of scholarship it might be expected to assist.