Workshop at TU Darmstadt, September 13th/14th 2018

The general use of digital maps and mapping has increased dramatically over the last years. Parallel to this boom in mapping the diffusion of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) rose with the ubiquitous use of digital data, devices and the internet. Maps and map-based information are not only everyday companions on our cell-phones, weather and traffic maps, they also move more and more into the focus of the Humanities.

GIS seems particularly attractive for historical research with a strong spatial dimension such as Urban History. Within Urban History the application of GIS has been pursued for some time, as documented by sessions at the bi-annual conferences of the European Association for Urban History (EAUH) and a range of publications. GIS has been applied not only for visualizing patterns and structures which have already been analysed by ‘traditional’ methods, but also for the process of building and developing hypotheses through the identification of spatial structures which are not so easily discerned in narrative or tabular form.

The latter potential stands at the center of a teaching project we pursue since summer term 2017 at TU Darmstadt, Germany.   The city of Darmstadt has experienced a dramatic loss of its archival heritage due to a massive destruction of the municipal and state record office after a disastrous air raid in September 1944. One central idea of this project is now, to compensate for the lack of written sources by supplying a range of data taken from serial sources such as city directories, municipal yearbooks or civil registers and enter these data, as far as they can be localized, in a GIS of Darmstadt at the early 20th century.

This project is accompanied by courses training students in the use of GIS for inputting and analyzing data on the history of 19th and 20th century Darmstadt. The project will conclude with an international workshop geared to promote scholarly reflection on the advantages and pitfalls of GIS in Urban History.

The workshop will take place on 13th/14th September 2018 at TU Darmstadt. We invite you to submit proposals for papers as well as (digital) posters/maps which discuss the use of GIS in Urban History for different aspects and periods. We would also appreciate papers highlighting the use of GIS for Public History purposes (schools, museums, tourist guides, apps, historical paths etc.). The presentation time for papers will be 20 minutes and the presentation should include a demonstration of GIS features and procedures. The necessary hardware and presentation equipment will be provided.

Please send us your proposals with a text of not more than 250 words, 2-3 references to publications (Internet-links) and perhaps 3 screenshots of interesting applications to GIS_and_the_City at by 10 February 2018. We will notify you about acceptance by 31 March 2018.

Prof. Dieter Schott                                     
Dr. Wolfgang Moschek

History Department, Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, TU Darmstadt
Landwehrstr. 50a, D-64293 Darmstadt

For further information please contact: moschek at