According to a study conducted in 1986 known as the First National Assessment of History and Literature, students appear to have an extremely low recollection of the history taught in school. Granted, the study material is well over ten years old, but it is still commonly accepted that students learn popular culture much more easily than history. It is also well known that learning by association is one of the most effective methods of learning. The question remains, "How do we associate the past with the present?"
We found a possible answer in the results of that study from 1986. While students only correctly answered 54% of all history questions, students were able to correctly answer 71.3% of questions relating to maps and geography. This shows that the students were more comfortable with questions of a geographic nature. Taking this idea a step further, students can now associate the past with the present by connecting points in history through maps. We have taken that concept and created a series of maps allowing students to actively learn through a technology that adapts very well to the internet, GIS. More questios about GIS can be found in our FAQ
We are making a major addition to the site. The AP program recently announced a new AP test for the 2000-2001 year, AP Human Geography. We plan on making this curriculum available online for the first time here in 2001. This will be a great opportunity for students wishing to pursue college credit without the AP course available at their schools.
Now that the deadline has passed for the ThinkQuest conpetition, we plan to keep up with technology. If a company derives a better way to express GIS data, we want everybody to benefit. In addition to keeping up with the news and posting it on this site, we will try to provide new opportunities to our visitors. We are currently keeping our eyes on a new data format known as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) that should be common after the release of the IE and Netscape 6.x browsers. In addition, we would like to see Geofactory Technologies, Santander Espaņa release their software for mapping online. Many great opportunities await the visitors of this site in the future, and we see no reason to stop our focus on GIS once the judging is through.
Well, we are not semifinalists this year in the ThinkQuest competition. However, we plan on maintaining this site for our users. After all, this site is based on original content not found anywhere else on the internet. We hate to admit it, but we made a mistake in predicting ThinkQuest's expectations for these sites.
First of all, the semifinalist sites do not necessarily have original content. In many cases, they have compiled basic knowledge and public (and private) images from around the internet, and even bend the rules by basing large amounts of content on cgi scripts that can be altered after the rules forbid alterations. Thinkquest apparently is more concerned with the presentation of this material, awarding points if the content looks appealing on their browsers (not minding long download times), in a manner that could be considered creative, using such techniques as installing a cgi from another site that allows the page to perform tricks. After all, modern students are more likely to engage in education when the materials appear enjoyable.
Our second flaw was that none of our team members came from different countries, or even different schools. (Strangely enough, the resources of students and the work from each member is not in question as much as the difference in their schools, according to the judging rubric.) We asked assistance from citizens of multiple countries, and were even aided greatly with the contribution of software and scripts.
We believe, however, that the ThinkQuest judges view this site as an attempt of an individual to compile a bunch of technical jargon marketing some data he has created for public download. While this is not the case, and even though we haven't confirmed that this was the view of the judges, we are entering again this year to shape the site with new features like GIS tutorials, 6 translations, games and quizzes, advanced historical information and data querying (such as searching for a country in history), and a beautiful graphical table layout for those of you who have modern browsers. We opted not to do layouts this time because we didn't want to withhold data from those without modern technology, as suggested by W3C. Also, our biggest score booster, all of this will be done with the help of someone from another country (if she agrees... we are asking someone from Ukraine.)
Please make use of this site in the time being. We would love to be of assistance.
Our site has been listed on the German site, Historical Maps Index. This is a great start to integrating our resources onto the web.
The growing size of the file, the difficulty of drawing certain countries and the need to animate each country individually are all reasons that the flash presentation does not extend any further in the past than 1815. The function of the Flash presentation is to show how borders change, using the last century as an example. Our entire timeline is not necessary to express change. Also, the presentation was salvaged from a previous attempt to teach the sole concept of changing borders. At the time, only those years in the presentation were available for use. Another factor is the task of expressing change. Since each country needs to be animated individually to make such a flash presentation function, we decided to wait until the new vector format SVG is widely available.
We have found such great potential for this site. Unlike other entries that teach a single concept such as a math, science, or literature, this project focuses on how world history can be expressed through technology, and since technology is ever-changing, we will dedicate ourselves to modify the site as technology improves this opportunity. In the next few years, we will rely on the programming community to assist us in making additions to this site, such as new vector formats that minimize the size of the data expressed on this site.
Before the age of nationalism, it is difficult to show how fragmented powers develop. For example, the Austrian and Spanish Habsburgs claimed territory within the Holy Roman Empire, so while states like Saxony and Bavaria lay within the boundaries of one empire, they were controlled by external powers.
The faded yellow areas are lands with no territorial power claiming authority. Even though most of the world has been populated throughout the years covered on this site, our maps show political borders, not ethnic borders.
In order to earn a political border on our maps, the area must be considered a state-society, empire, or some form of nation. Chiefdoms and countries too small to be expressed on our maps can not be shown. In some cases, multiple independant countries are grouped together when appropriate, ie. Hindu kingdoms or German states. No offense is intended towards groups not represented on one of our maps. If you are uncertain if a country has been misrepresented or not, please begin a discussion on the message board. If you know that there is a historic country that has been improperly represented, then visit our contact form and tell us directly.
The last time we checked, ArcExplorer was not available for Macintosh. However, if you know you can use GIS data on your Mac and would like to obtain GIS data in stuffit files instead of zip files, you should contact us.