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Had an idea that I thought could really go places so, I'm reaching out to you all being the pioneers (and now experts) of open-source information sharing/building... and this idea would need massive effort (and perhaps, help from Google, Apple or another tech company). I'm starting with you all as I hope, if the idea has any merit, I'll have a better chance gaining some interest with you all, than the 100's or 1000's of people working on countless other things over at the tech development companies. So the idea...

The Human History Project - A Comprehensive and Interactive Map of All Recorded History The shortest way I can describe it would be a completely interactive map of the world that would display the history of recorded events. It would have a changeable/movable timelime that would move forwards and backwards through recorded history, displaying the shifting borders of tribes, city states, kingdoms and nations and flagging all of the significant events in human history. Making this in the detail I'm proposing would be akin to mapping the human history genome. It's such a massive project I think it would need to be broken down into stages...

Stage 1 - I'm thinking of a fairly simple interactive Google Maps program. The default map would be today's world, today's political/national borders with a timeline at the bottom of the screen. You can control the timeline, drag it from now all the way back to the origins of history. Maybe for stage 1, the timeline is set at every hundred years... or on significant shifts of national borders (major wars of expansion). On the global scale the map would be almost a blur as tribes become city states and then kingdoms and eventually empires and nations. It might look like this, but with the whole world and the user has complete control over the timeline - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ievGPT-FaSY

Stage 2 - You can zoom in to any continent, region, all the way down to individual city states or tribal lands. This is where the map/tool/project really takes off... and will need an immense amount of help and coordination between the history and programming folks. This stage will add a lot of detail. The controllable timeline will also need to be reduced from 100's of years to something closer to 5-10 years.

Stage 3 - (final stages begin, incredible complexity) Much deeper... now that you've zoomed into very very minute areas, there are date-stamped articles on all of the major historical events of the time/geography.... EVERYTHING. The timeline is now reduced down to days (would work on a changeable scale in case you just want major events. You can set the time slide-bar to days and then see "Declaration of Independence Signed" pop up on July 4, 1776 and it links several article (Wikipedia, academic sites, books, etc) all on the subject... move it forward and you get all of the battles of the War of Independence. Move forward to 1885, say April 15th and you see a flag pop up saying Lincoln was assassinated. Now extrapolate this detail to all over the world. Every nation, kingdom, city state that ever existed. Everywhere. The Map would be offering up flags practically every day in recorded history, and everywhere. This could also yield very different perspectives on historical world events. For example... the user could be on the global view and move the timeline forward to see that China develops gunpowder around 800 AD, at the same time Charlemagne has united France and expanded its borders to include all of modern day Italy... and Teotihuacan, once a proud, powerful and perhaps the most influential city state in all of the Americas, mysteriously collapses (but is eventually reborn as the center of the Aztec empire).

Stage 4 – (Massive, possibly impossible detail... but never doubt open source, right?) You can zoom in on individual cities. The timeline now links to significant news of the each date, perhaps citing or linking scanned/archived newspapers for that particular city (or to whatever recorded information that was the accepted historical record for that location at that time). This might be a pipedream (probably is)… but with an open source project, shoot for impossible and end up with something like Wikipedia, the most comprehensive, evolving and updating encyclopedia in human history. This project would be putting the information that you already have into full motion and making it geographically relevant.

Stage 5 - Live History The map updates as the global news networks report on emerging stories. You could easily navigate the world and see what's happening in places where the major U.S. or EU networks don't often report. Or you could see how different the world view is on one particular topic all at the same time. Super-uber pipedream here.

If done correctly, this could potentially make every history text book ever written obsolete (if Wikipedia hasn't done that already).

So that's the rough sketch. I'm not expecting a response, but I figured I'd shoot for the moon here. I'd be happy just to see if something like this is already in the works. Keep up the great work and thank you for your time.

Proposed by[edit]

Hokie200proof came up with it, Ollieinc (talk) added it to proposals.

Alternative names[edit]

  • Wikihuman history map
  • Wikihistory
    • Wikistory

Related projects/proposals[edit]

Domain names[edit]

Mailing list links[edit]

Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals/Create an Interactive Map of All Recorded Human History


People interested[edit]