Applying GIS to the humanities is complex. Traditional GIS cannot easily represent uncertainty, ambiguity, emotion, metaphor, or other dynamic attributes of interest to humanists who seek to combine space, time, and place. Deep maps offer a solution.
A deep map is a detailed, multimedia depiction of a place and all that exists within it. It is not strictly tangible; it also includes emotion and meaning. A deep map is both a process and a product – a creative space that is visual, open, multi-layered, and ever changing. Where traditional maps serve as statements, deep maps serve as conversations.
Two significant initiatives have emerged from our research in deep maps and spatial narratives: 1) an NEH Advanced Institute and 2) a prototype deep map.
In 2012, we hosted the advanced institute, Spatial Narratives and Deep Maps: Explorations in the Spatial Humanities, designed to advance exploration of deep maps in the humanities. It brought together 12 leading scholars from around the world to explore how deep maps can support relevant humanities issues, and ultimately, to develop a prototype deep map.