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Russ4880/Geog4880 Guide to Resources: Environment and Empire in Russia and Eurasia

Making Maps

Before you start making a map, give some thought to what you want the map to do. Although your ideas will probably develop as you work on the map, it's good to gather and organize your data ahead of time.

You'll need a list of places or areas and their latitude and longitude to place them on the map.
I'd recommend using Google Sheets for this purpose. You can list your places and then use the Geocoder add-on to automatically gather the geographical coordinates. To download and install Geocoder, open a Google sheet and click on Extensions>Add-ons>Geocoder from Awesome Tables. Once installed, Geocoder will appear in the Extensions menu. When you have your list of places entered, just run Geocoder and watch it add all the coordinates for you. You can also add notes, links to images, etc. to your Google Sheet to keep everything organized.

If you're working with a text and want to quickly identify all the places mentioned, use Recogito.
You'll need to upload your text as a text file, not an image or pdf. You can find and download many texts from HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, Google Book Search, Project Gutenberg, and other sites. Of, if you have a pdf you can convert it to a text file by opening it in Google Docs. The formatting doesn't always transfer well, so you might need to do some cleaning up in your new file. You'll want to delete anything that you don't want included in the geographical coding, for example headers, chapter numbers, etc.
Once you've uploaded your file to Recogito, highlight the file and choose Options>Named Entity Recognition. Recogito will start reading your document, matching place and personal names against databases of names. This can take a little time.
Once the system has parsed the file, you can open it and see all the place and personal names have been marked. By clicking on each one, you can see if it's correctly identified a location and can make any corrections needed and add notes. Once corrections have been made, you can download a csv file that provides a spreadsheet of the places and their coordinates.

Now that you have a list of places and geographical coordinates, you can upload this into a variety of mapping programs to plot these locations on a map. If you want your map to display layers of information, you may want to separate your master list into separate lists for each layer of information. For example, if I want to contrast the places associated with one character in a novel with places associated with another, I'll want a separate list or layer for each character. On the map I can then display either or both to see how they compare and contrast.




Mapping Tools and Software