L. Dietze, A. Kunz, A. Zipf





The National Historical GIS for Germany (“HGIS Germany”) is a research project developing an information system on German states and territories from 1820 to 1914. We present the Web interface to the spatio-temporal data and maps on the spatio-temporal development of the administrative units, the dynastic information on the ruling dynasties, the development of the traffic, and statistical information on society and economy during that time ( We research the development of Germany down to the governmental district level, and combine this with a wealth of statistical data as well as information about the ruling dynasties and their mutual relationships. All this information is made accessible via a web-based information system that offers thousands of maps on information to researchers and interested users. The system is based on OGC standards like WMS, WFS & SLD. We will explain the challenges of this approach in the full paper.

We have developed and filled spatio-temporal databases that include information on the political-geography of Germany (and surrounding Central Europe). This includes detailed information on the individual (federated) states which comprised Germany in that time, as well as demographic and economic data. Another emphasis has been placed on the historical development of infrastructures, especially of transport networks. Such data is being connected with the political-geographic data and with the attribute data, i.e. the historical, political, and social data. This can make the HISTORICAL GIS GERMANY one of the foremost reference tools on modern German political, social and economic history and allows exploring the “life histories” of spatial entities over one hundred years.

For structures pertaining to more than one state the term “worlds of states” (“Staatenwelt”) has been coined to denote unions of states etc. Regarding those, for example the following maps can be generated dynamically for each year:

-          Complete area of the union (including enclaves, exclaves etc.)

-          Type of membership in the chosen “Staatenwelt”

-          Political map

-          Administrative structure

Further thematic maps for each year include for example the following:

-          „Who married whom?“ for each state dynastic nuptial relationships

-          individual dynastic families, as single lines (“Einzelhäuser“) or joint lines (“Gesamthäuser) that participated in each state union

-          population density of all governmental districts

-          number and regional distribution of machine spinning in Prussia (selected years 1837 - 1849)