HistoGlobe - Visualising History

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Carola Westermeier


Work text
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Our software HISTOGLOBE visualises historical events and developments on a three- dimensional globe and map. With the help of a timeline users can explore history interactively.

In order to emphasize certain aspects of history or in order to make the map more or less detailed several filters can be used. Zooming in and out enables the user to see more or less details. It is designed to be highly user-friendly with an intuitive handling.

Fig. 1: Simplified HistoGlobe Mockup

HISTOGLOBE is based on a simple web-browser. Thereby, it can be also be used by smartphone and tablet.

The software enables researchers to visualize their topics concerning long and short time developments with a broad regional expansion. Of course, the historical events can be connected with all kinds of (digital) sources, such as documents, pictures and videos. Thereby, HISTOGLOBE enables scientists as well as for example museums and galleries to present their topics in a unique way.

Our current prototype shows the development of the European Union on the basis of nearly 60 events. In order to use the advantages of a visualization tool, countries as a whole can also be highlighted. Thereby, the growth of the European Union is depicted vividly. Picture 2 shows an exemplary date during which the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, France and Italy are highlighted to show their connection. The stars highlight several events related to the development of the European Union. These events imply a short description and can be matched with sources, such as pictures, videos, audio-files and documents. Of course, the description can also lead to related websites and further information.

Fig. 2: Developments of countries, taken from www.histoglobe.com

Fig. 3: Single events are connected with multimedia elements

Within the next months we will be able to show different types of events, several filters, connections between events and animations. Of course, HISTOGLOBE can apply different languages.

During the conference we would like to present our visualisation of World War I. which we are currently developing with students at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen. Conference visitors will be able to use the visualisation and navigate through the course of history using a laptop. If visitors are interested, we are open to show how historical events are implemented in the software and which techniques were used.

In addition, we would like to show how HISTOGLOBE has been in use in several museums in Germany and how it was already used by teachers and students to create their own version of HISTOGLOBE. Based on these examples, we would like to invite academics to discuss how future research could be visualised using HISTOGLOBE.

Our multidisciplinary team consists of six (PhD-) students. En detail, we are three computer scientists, two historians and one business student. Our project is supported by the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and the Foundation of German Business. The first prototype was developed at the Åbo Akademi in Turku, Finland. We already cooperate with the Bauhaus- University Weimar and the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen.

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