TLCMap is a set of tools that work together for mapping Australian history and culture. We are developing systems specifically to meet needs of humanities researchers' digital mapping needs. These needs are diverse, from finding places in texts, to representing indigenous knowledge, to statistical analysis of spatiotemporal data, to virtual reality visualisations and journey animations. Our approach to this wide range of requirements is not to try to build one system that does all things, but to:
TLCMap is not a single map of all Australian culture. Nobody could accomplish that, it would be too confusing if they could, and it would inevitably get things wrong. Instead it's a set of tools for people to build their own maps, which can be moved around, shared, and combined in different ways. Collectively a diverse, interconnected, multivoiced 'map' of Australian culture emerges.
The way TLCMap can be used is not just for one purpose, but to do many things across these systems.
By making sure the systems work together, all these systems which deal with their own area well can add up to something greater. It also means mapping information from can be moved in and out of TLCMap systems and any other compliant mapping system, so you are not locked into anything. TLCMap is not limited to systems we design and build. We aim to ensure Humanities researchers have the equipment they need to do mapping, so sometimes our recommendation is simply to point you to a system or guide that already handles that well with guides and FAQs. The key to this interoperability is mapping files in standard formats, such as KML, GeoJSON and CSV files. As a complete beginner you don't need to much about them. Ideally you can just export a file from one place and import to another. If you want a better understanding of these files and the basics of digital mapping, try the Intro To Humanities Digital Mapping Tutorial.
Because we are developing tools in many areas, please bear in mind these are at different stages of development, some just beginning. Research and development are a ongoing processes that will never finish so rather than wait till things are 'finished', it's a good idea to see what you can do with current capabilities. Any limitations become ideas for future development.
Simple Example: You have an image of an old map with places on it that you want to turn data and add dates so you can animate it on a map. You could use Quick Coordinates to overlay the image of the old map and click the places on it to get their coordinates. You can click the calendar to add columns for the dates. Then download as KML and open it in Temporal Earth. The first time you do this it might take you a few hours to figure out, but once you know how these parts work, you could make a simple map with a few points and put it on the web in 10 minutes.
Complex Example: You might want to demonstrate a point for a research paper about the differences in changes places in a text compared to an image. If you find places in a text using Recogito, and convert a place on an old map to coordinates, and associate dates with them, you can export that and import them into Temporal Earth to animate change over time with an interactive timeslider, and you can also import them into SpatioTemporal Metrics to make statistical comparisons between them in various ways. If you identified any placenames you can contribute this to the Gazetteer of Historical Australian Placenames. You can archive all your data and notes for others to find and use with Arkisto/ROCrate.
You could start with any one of these tools, depending on your needs and what sort of information you have.
Although the wide range of possibilities makes it difficult to know where to start, we try to make sure that if you can use a computer and are willing to read or watch a guide or tutorial, you don't need to be, or to hire, an IT expert to get started. At the same time, there are pathways to become, or to skip to, more advanced functionality. Where you begin depends on what your interests are. It's always a good idea to jump in and have a go at it. Here are some suggestions:
The best way to learn digital mapping is to have a go.
Learn the basics of digital mapping: Map Course
Search for place names in Australia, find coordinates for places, add placenames to the record: GHAP (Gazetteer of Historical Australian Placenames)
Attach coordinates and times to a list of places: Quick Coordinates
Get coordinates for points on an image of an old map: Quick Coordinates
See a list of TLCMap systems and what they do: TLCMap Systems
Find places in text: TLCMap Recogito (our own instance of Recogito with extra features)
Build a database of information or media files, associated with places, on the web: Heurist
View layers of data that changes over time: Temporal Earth
Create animations of journeys: Temporal Earth
Analyse map data with statistical methods: Spatiotemporal Metrics
Question not here? FAQs