Historic maps offer a unique insight into the past, both for scholars and the general public. Such maps are much more than a representation of the earth’s surface. They also tell us about the priorities of those making and using the maps. Historic maps offer both a cartographic record of a place in time, as well as an insight into social, political, and economic assertions being made about that place. This is especially so with the early maritime trade and colonial maps of Southeast Asia, which delineate routes, resources, and settlements.
This project will develop an interactive online platform of digitised historical (pre-1900) maps of Singapore and Southeast Asia. This will serve as a one-stop portal that allows users to view and interrogate an extensive body of historical maps, sourced from select, world-renowned collections, including the National Library (Singapore); the Bodleian Libraries (University of Oxford); the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale University), and the Map Collections of Leiden University. The platform will support high-functionality user interaction, thereby facilitating scholarly research, support teaching, and enhance non-expert public engagement and education.
This project will also add value to the local research landscape, building Singapore’s digital humanities capacities in digital historical map curation and usage.