The GeoHumanities Special Interest Group: Fostering and facilitating the geospatial turn

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Katherine Hart Weimer

    Rice University

  2. 2. Karl Grossner

    Stanford University

Work text
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The GeoHumanities Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed in 2013, and in two and a half years, over 500 individuals have subscribed to the group’s email and social media feeds. However, there remains considerable untapped potential for SIG activities informing and enabling humanities scholars’ investigations of geospatial research methods and theory. This poster will publicize the SIG’s mission and activities, and gather input from conference attendees on possible future endeavors.
The 2013 Digital Humanities conference program reflected an increasing interest in questions of place and space by scholars from various disciplines. Recognizing the need for cross-disciplinary collaborations and sharing of experience, the SIG co-founders responded to ADHO’s call for proposals during that year’s SIG slam. Our intent was to utilize ADHO’s SIG structure to unite and support the disparate groups of scholars conducting research with a spatial or geographic context. In naming the SIG, we have emphasized geography’s traditional attention to not only spatial, but spatial-temporal and ‘placial’ perspectives. Soon after DH2013, the GeoHumanities SIG proposal was approved.
The SIG’s stated goals are
“… to create a venue for pooling knowledge and best practices for relevant existing digital tools and methods, to foster the collaborative development of shared resources and new tools and extensions to geospatial software, and to keep humanist scholars at large informed about the possibilities and inherent pitfalls in their use.”
The SIG uses various communication channels, including a web site (, an email-list and twitter feed. Subscribers now number over 500, primarily from the US and Europe, and the group has had a few notable accomplishments during that time. SIG members have contributed to the expansion of the DiRT Directory by augmenting the TaDiRAH DH taxonomy and are contributing annotations to DiRT listings that are relevant to geospatial research, on an ongoing basis. Those listings are fed automatically to the SIG site in a feature called
GeoDiRT. The web site also features a list of over 150 Humanities GIS projects from around the world. That resource was originally developed by one of our members several years ago, and transferred to our ADHO-hosted site to ensure its longevity and to facilitate contributions. The SIG website includes blog postings, announcements and a twitter feed.

In each of the past two years the GeoHumanities SIG has held pre-conference events. At Lausanne in 2014, a well-attended day-long meeting focused on “Place and Period in an Emerging Global Gazetteer,” and at Sydney in 2015, the SIG promoted a workshop hosted by several of its members on the topic of peer review in GeoHumanities. In 2016, the SIG endorsed and promoted a member organized workshop, “A Place for Places: Current Trends and Challenges in the Development and Use of Geo‑historical Gazetteers.” Each of these sessions provided a venue to share expertise and shape research agendas.
The GeoHumanities SIG’s future initiatives may include:

Enabling the enhancement of Humanities GIS project listings by their investigators.

Improving browse and search capability for the Humanities GIS project list.

Improving integration of DiRT and GeoDiRT.

Coordinating the collaborative development of an online primer on geospatial analytic and mapping tools, data resources, and best practices.

Engaging SIG members to enhance GeoDiRT by reviewing tool listings.

Other ideas brought forward by members.

The DH conference poster venue is a great opportunity to increase awareness of the GeoHumanities SIG and its activities, expand the member base and gather input on current and future directions.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2016
"Digital Identities: the Past and the Future"

Hosted at Jagiellonian University, Pedagogical University of Krakow

Kraków, Poland

July 11, 2016 - July 16, 2016

454 works by 1072 authors indexed

Conference website:

Series: ADHO (11)

Organizers: ADHO