Mapping History: Seeing Premodern Cartography through GIS and Game Engines (2020-2021)

This project team explored Medieval and modern European maps and city views (c. 1400-1900) to examine how people in the past understood and represented the world around them. Combining literary, art historical and computational methods and using video and image annotation software (Supervisely), team members developed a methodology for analyzing maps and views that allowed team members to explore how mapmakers made arguments about how people should “see” the world around them.

Drawing from team members with a diverse array of skills from art history to geography to computer science, the team launched Sandcastle, a 3D mapping system designed to enable researchers to dive more deeply into the imagery and arguments of maps.

This team’s efforts built off the work of a summer 2020 Data+ project that collected and marked up historical images of the cities of London and Lisbon.


Fall 2020 – Spring 2021

Team Outputs

Sandcastle. Eric Monson, Philip Stern, Ed Triplett, Joel Herndon, Augustus Wendell, David Zielinski, Brittany Forniotis, Anderson Hagler, Sam Horewood, Rosalind Rothwell, Sam Schmidt, Helen Shears, Brittany Forniotis, Anderson Hagler, Sam Horewood, Rosalind Rothwell, Sam Schmidt, Elizabeth Bond, Molly Borowiak, Samy Boutouis, Austin Connors, Rebecca Eneyni, Jake Heller, Nicole Lindbergh, Abbey List, Isa Lu, Emmalee Mariner, David Mellgard Jr., Mina Mortchev, Emma Rand, Caroline Rettig, Kerry Rork, Ali Rothberg, Julia Shenot, Manmit Singh, Hannah Thurston.

This Team in the News

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2022

Bass Connections Teams Share Research Highlights in 2020-2021 Virtual Showcase

Mapping History in a Pandemic: An Unexpected Journey

A Virtual Stroll through the 2021 Bass Connections Showcase

Project Launch: Sandcastle

Building Sandcastles with History

See related Data+ summer project, Computational Approaches to the History of Cartography (2020).


Team Leaders

  • Ashton Merck, Arts & Sciences-History
  • Eric Monson, Duke Libraries
  • Philip Stern, Arts & Sciences-History
  • Ed Triplett, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Helen Shears, History-PHD
  • Sam Schmidt, History-PHD
  • Brittany Forniotis, Art and Art History-AM, Art and Art History-PHD
  • Anderson Hagler, History-PHD
  • Rosalind Rothwell, History-PHD
  • Sam Horewood, History-AM, History-PHD
  • Xinyue Qian, Art and Art History-AM

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Molly Borowiak, Computer Science (BS)
  • Hannah Thurston, History (AB)
  • Manmit Singh, Computer Science (BS)
  • Julia Shenot, Philosophy (AB)
  • Ali Rothberg, English (AB), Computer Science (AB2)
  • Kerry Rork, History (AB)
  • Caroline Rettig, Art History/Visual Arts (AB)
  • Emma Rand, Environmental Sciences (BS)
  • Mina Mortchev
  • David Mellgard Jr., Classical Civilization (AB)
  • Emmalee Mariner, Medieval & Renaiss St (AB)
  • Isa Lu, Economics (BS)
  • Abbey List, Computer Science (BS)
  • Jake Heller, Computer Science (BS)
  • Rebecca Eneyni, Economics (BS)
  • Julia Deitelbaum, Art History (AB)
  • Austin Connors, History (AB)
  • Samy Boutouis, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Elizabeth Bond, History (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Joel Herndon, Duke Libraries
  • Augustus Wendell, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
  • David Zielinski, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies