Historisk Atlas / Unified history, cont.

Back in 2017 i published my idea for a platform that could eventually include all geographical developments that have happened on Earth, as well as human activities. I updated my presentation (and translated to Swedish) for a presentation at the Kartdagar in Helsingborg, April 2023. Such a map would, apart from obvious human interest, be a powerful tool in a wide range of uses, much like Wikipedia today. But I would actually argue that it could become even more valuable a tool than Wikipedia. That is, if it ever gets built.

This idea very much mimics Wikipedia, apart from the fact that instead of pieces of a puzzle creating an article, we are creating geographical objects. We rarely have the correct information for when an object existed, so the only way to get close to the truth is to use many, many sources representing moments in time. Most objects will be represented with large uncertainties, but that is the power of this approach. Having rough numbers and transparency will allow many of these uncertainties to be addressed much easier than not having them in the map at all. We get are many sources through crowdsourcing. A map here, a photograph there… eventually things get pinned in time. An appropriate name for this would perhaps be the multiple status – or Multistate – approach.

If you understand what this is about by just reading this short text you would also realize it it a massive undertaking. But the past year has shown the power of artificial intelligence and tools developed specifically for this could reduce our own workload to the role of editor. AI does the heavy lifting and we just approve what seems right. If you are reading this you obviously have an interest, so get in touch! No skills are required other than getting fired up about an idea like this.

Here is the latest presentation in Swedish. An English version will come with the next update, but in the meantime I refer you to my post from 2017.

Jacob Levallius