You will find here a (very uncomplete!) list of our favourite sites that can be useful to supplement information provided in this section, both about technical information and scientific data.
In the various pages of this section, we have only presented the most rudimentary uses of the software QuantumGIS, those indispensable for achieving base maps and shapefile layers. Yet Qgis offers many more expanded possibilities. To find them, it is recommended to use both the tutorial and the forums related to GIS software in general (here and here). On the forums, one will not only find technical information, but also links to many resources available online (banks of shapefile layers on climate, current international borders, the French municipalities, ...).
This cartographic section of Ménestrel aims to fill a void on the Internet: it is in fact that there is not currently a general project which aims to map all medieval worlds or even only European data about that time, while allowing free export for the needs of each user. Nevertheless, some wonderful projects emerge, among which we only present four.
The Pleiades project developed under the auspices of the Ancient World Mapping Center aims to mapping the ancient world: it relates to the Middle Ages since late antiquity is covered. The initiative is impressive in both its magnitude (over 30,000 ancient sites are filled to this day) and the openness of its data, that are indeed available to any user on the project site. For example, here is the list of late-antique sites proposed by the authors of this project, as a table just waiting to be transformed into a shapefile layer...
The Alpage project is a research program initiated in 2006, with the support of the Agence nationale de la recherche. Bringing together historians, specialists of geomatics and IT specialists, it has helped to build a GIS of the pre-industrial space in Paris. The site allows import of personal scientific data and export in various formats.
The site Regnum Francorum Online, founded and developed by Johan Åhlfeldt, brings together a huge amount of geographical information about the Middle Ages in a very intuitive and accomplished way. By selecting the layers to display, it is possible to visualize very important information such as ancient cities and medieval bishoprics, the successive divisions of the Frankish kingdom, the royal routes or possessions of the great abbeys, ... all in the scale of your choice and in correspondence with the current situation, since the project is developed in partnership with Google Maps. The one critical remark we can, however, make is that this site does not work on an Open Access basis, and that a serial export is not possible.
Compared to the previous sites, the DARMC, proposed by Harvard University, has two advantages. On one hand, it escapes the narrow limits of Western Europe and Byzantium since it also covers a large part of the medieval Muslim world. On the other hand, the diversity of topics presented in the different available layers is impressive, including an important place to medieval natural resources (salt mines, etc.). Like Regnum Francorum Online, this site does not seem to turn to Open Source, but the maps can be viewed (and synchronized with others) in QGIS because it works as a mapserver : see below.
Many sites do not allow exporting their resources easily, but do accept a display of their data in a user map created with QGIS: this is called mapservers. The resources available are numerous, and the following list seeks more to give an idea than an exhaustive list (for more comprehensive lists, see in particular the Georezo portal or Skylab Mobilesystems. Here we only provide the name, nature and Internet address of the servers, since the use of these data is presented in the tutorial of this section. The referenced sites provide both physical, cultural and administrative data, since all thes can be useful to the historian either as direct sources of information or as a tool to produce new maps.
|Name of the site||Nature of data||Address to copy in QGis}|
|Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières||Geology of France||http://mapdmz.brgm.fr/cgi-bin/mapserv?map=/carto/infoterre/mapFiles/geolWMS.map|
|Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières||Lithology of France||http://mapdmz.brgm.fr/cgi-bin/mapserv?map=/carto/infoterre/mapFiles/geolWMS.map|
|Servizio Geologico d’Italia||Geology of Italy||http://sgi1.isprambiente.it/arcgis/services/servizi/geologia500k/MapServer/WMSServer|
|SOGEFI||IGN map of France (scale: 1:000000)||http://ws.sogefi-web.com/wms|
|Géosignal||Cities, cantons, départements, regions of France||http://www.geosignal.org/cgi-bin/wmsmap|
|DEMIS||Topography (world scale)||http://www2.demis.nl/wms/wms.asp?wms=WorldMap (select the layer “topography”)|
|DEMIS||Bathymetry (world scale)||http://www2.demis.nl/wms/wms.asp?wms=WorldMap (select the layer “bathymetry”)|
|DEMIS||Waterbodies (world scale)||http://www2.demis.nl/wms/wms.asp?wms=WorldMap (select the layer “waterbodies”)|
|DEMIS||Rivers (world scale)||http://www2.demis.nl/wms/wms.asp?wms=WorldMap (select the layer “rivers”)|
|DEMIS||International borders||http://www2.demis.nl/wms/wms.asp?wms=WorldMap (select the layer “borders”)|
|Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC)||French dioceses around the year 1000||http://cga6.cga.harvard.edu/services/DARMC/CF_France_Dioceses/MapServer/WMSServer|
|DARMC||European bishoprics at different periods of the Middle Ages||http://cga6.cga.harvard.edu/services/DARMC/MK_Bishoprics/MapServer/WMSServer|
|DARMC||European ecclesiastical provinces||http://cga6.cga.harvard.edu/services/DARMC/CF_Ecclesiastical/MapServer/WMSServer|
|DARMC||Roman provinces, 117 AC||http://cga6.cga.harvard.edu/services/DARMC/RE_Provinces_117/MapServer/WMSServer|
|DARMC||Roman provinces, 500 AC||http://cga6.cga.harvard.edu/services/DARMC/RE_Provinces_500/MapServer/WMSServer|
This is a recurring problem in the development of any map: I sometimes know where the element to be mapped is located on a city map, but how can I then deduct the precise map coordinates, so in order to insert it in a QGIS map ? There are at least three possibilities:
First, Wikipedia often provides the map coordinates of the sites for which it offers an article. For example in the case of bishoprics, the article "Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Maguelone" offers the details of this (today suppressed) cathedral in the right column of the article (section "Géographie"). Beware, however: these coordinates are given by default in degrees, while QGIS only supports decimal format: you have to click on these coordinates in the Wikipedia page to get to their equivalent on the Geohack site, expressed, here, in the decimal format.
Secondly, if Wikipedia is not enough, another convenient tool may be the FacilMap website, based on OpenStreetMap. When viewing a space, click on the icon "create a marker" in the upper right of the screen, then click on the wished location to display the coordinates. One can select multiple locations simultaneously.
Those who prefer a commercial way can turn to the Google Maps website. While watching any virtual region, click right on any place and select "What’s here?" and the decimal coordinates will be displayed.
Thirdly, if you want to produce not a single point but an entire path (ie several interconnected points, for example to map a border), it will be easier to go through the Open Street Map Distance Calculator website, which allows to trace these paths using a background from OpenStreetMap, and then to export them with a single click (and in only one table).