Introduction to part II

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


Historical GIS impacted the wider scholarly world at the start of this century with the publication of exploratory volumes in four consecutive years: 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003.1 Along with urban history, economic history was an ‘early starter’ in the adoption of GIS technologies and methodologies, with an emphasis more on the former (visualization) than the latter (measurement). This early and enthusiastic take-up stemmed from the fact that several economic historians, especially those associated with the transportation revolution, were already pushing on the mapping front prior to the arrival of GIS, wrestling with vector plotters and trying to calculate distances and proximities. The arrival of GIS was the answer they had long sought.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Ian Gregory, Don DeBats and Don Lafreniere. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

The Routledge Companion to Spatial History