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HGIS de las Indas - A Historical-Geographic Information System for Spanish America (1701-1808)

Hosting organisations
Institut für Geschichte, FB Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
Responsible persons
Dr. Werner Stangl

HGIS de las Indias is a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), P 26379-G18, located at the Historical Institute of the University of Graz. Its purpose is to provide a common spatio-temporal data framework and an online visualization (a dynamic, interactive, and customizable WebGIS), for the historical geography of Bourbon Spanish America before the eve of independence.

The language of the project’s documentation, interface, and applications at the moment is Spanish only. Its main features include:

  • A WebGIS with dozens of themed layers, which can be controlled via a time-slider. A number of georeferenced old maps can be used as base maps to contrast with the vector data of the project.
  • A gazetteer of 12000+ populated places and 1000+ territorial entities designed to enable integration of third-party data.
  • Geometries (.shp) of the populated places and 12 territorial “levels” (jurisdictions, ‘provinces’, court-districts, bishoprics…) for each single year from 1701 to 1808, from New Mexico to Patagonia, as open access download.
  • A Dokuwiki-infrastructure for documentation and possible crowd-sourced description of the gazetteer.
  • A mostly-OCR-based digital edition of the 5-volume “Historical-Geographic Dictionary of the Indies” (1786-1789) by Antonio de Alcedo, is currently in the process of development. However, human ressources for manual cleanup and refinement of geoparsing are low, so unless additional funding can be gathered, only important cities and territories can be referenced and the edition cannot claim to meet any standard of scholarly digital editions.