visualizing human history in the context of earth's history
January 18, 2013 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend web-based tools for visualizing human history/civilizations in the context of larger geological timescales and weather changes?

Ideally this would be a tool using the google maps or earth apis, which shows the rise and fall of civilizations or other archaeological sites in the context of weather and landscape changes, plotted over time. I'm not looking to drill down into each site; just a name and the location, and preferably controlled by a slider rather than an animation.

I'd like to see, for example, where sites in Northern Europe developed following changes in the Pleistocene glaciation coverage. It would be even cooler if it showed known or projected weather patterns or events, and major volcanic events.

I find that when I focus on one particular historical event or culture, I am somewhat clueless about the greater context of the world at the time they lived in. I'd like to be able to see, at a glance, the sort of other cultures they may have been interacting with, climate, and any major geological events that might have affected their actions.

If something like this doesn't exist, can you recommend big data repositories of historical climate, historical site dating/archeology, or geological data from the time of modern humans, so I can create one?
posted by par court to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
There was one on the blue on paleogoegraphy not too long ago, that was interesting. In addition, Paleomap might help on the geologic and climatic history part, but I'm pretty sure that site doesn't include much on the human history/civilization side of things.
posted by pappy at 11:59 AM on January 18, 2013

This person seemed to be asking about how to make something similar last year.
posted by XMLicious at 12:32 AM on January 19, 2013

For the human history portion, consider Wikipedia! This gorgeous History of the World in 100 Seconds video used data from a Wikipedia dump and sorted out a list of ~14,000 geotagged events. The creators discuss their techniques and posted their data here, there's limits and caveats of course but you might be able to use similar methods to get the dataset you're looking for.

Do post if you work something out! I'd love to see exactly what you're looking for/to make.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:05 AM on June 18, 2013

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