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New Public Map Tiles and Antiquity À-la-carte 3.0 Beta

February 3, 2014 in News, Site Information, Updates

All layers

The AWMC is proud to announce the release of a series of geographically accurate, publicly accessible map tiles ( ), suitable for use in nearly any web mapping application or GIS software suite. These tiles are hosted on Mapbox servers courtesy of ISAW, and are created by Ryan Horne from AWMC data produced by Richard TalbertJeffrey BeckerRyan HorneRoss Twele, Audrey JoRay Belanger, Steve Burges, Luke Hagemann, Ashley Lee, and others.

Offering the first (and at the time of this writing, only) geographically accurate base map of the ancient world, the AWMC tiles conform to the broad periodization presented in the Barrington Atlas, with different selectable water levels for the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Late Antique Periods. In addition, we also model inland water, rivers, and other geographical features as they appeared in antiquity. The base tiles are culturally agnostic, allowing them to be used to represent the physical environment of nearly any ancient society in the Mediterranean world. In addition to the base map and geographical tiles we also present the Roman road network, generally following the Barrington Atlas with additional work by the AWMC. Like all of our other electronic offerings, our new tiles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) license and remain absolutely free for personal, academic, and non-commercial use.


For guidelines on how to use the tiles in an application, please visit These tiles are a “living” data set, and will be constantly refined to reflect the ongoing work of the AWMC. We welcome feedback on any aspect of this work and we encourage the community to suggest enhancements, fixes, or any other comments on our dedicated site.

You can see the tiles in action in our API (see, for example, the Urban Area of Rome), the new Beta Version of Antiquity à la Carte 3.0, and at the Pleiades Project.





spain_roadsAlong with our tiles, The Ancient World Mapping Center is also releasing a beta version of Antiquity à la Carte 3.0 ( The application, engineered by Ryan Horne, builds upon the two previous iterations of À-la-carte, which appeared in Spring 2012 and October of the same year.  Continuing to draw upon the work of the Ancient World Mapping Center and the Pleiades Project, the updated version will incorporate the new AWMC Mapping tiles, along with the expanded features first introduced in v. 2.0. Until the beta version is stable with all of the previous functionality enabled, À-la-carte version 2.0 will remain operational at . In the meantime, we welcome any feedback on the beta version as we endeavor to create an application that is useful to the ancient world community. We are particularly excited that our new tiles allow us to feature modern data alongside our ancient offerings, which will open many new possibilities and applications for À-la-carte.

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Gazetteer Fix

December 11, 2013 in News, Updates

It has come to our attention that the gazetteer functionality was down. It has been fixed and should be functioning as normal.


AWMC and Pelagios

January 15, 2013 in News, Updates

From our main site:

AWMC is happy to formally join the Pelagios network. Pelagios is networking site whereby linked data for the ancient world is accessible via the common denominator of Pleiades id numbers. These stable identifiers allow many different types of online data – geographic, epigraphic, archaeological, art historical, textual – and metadata to be aggregated into virtual networks linked through place names (and numbers). The potential of this networking is enormous and AWMC is pleased to join with other colleagues already participating. Read more about the AWMC and Pelagios collaboration on the Pelagios blog. One may browse the AWMC information in Pelagios here.


Minor Changes

January 8, 2013 in Updates

We fixed an error where the print box would not always adjust to user input.

In addition, modern layers are now turned off by default, which should help with the application’s loading time.


AWMC API goes live

December 3, 2012 in News, Site Information, Updates

The Ancient World Mapping Center is pleased to announce the rollout of a new application programming interface (API) that allows users to interact directly with the center’s database. The API can be found here and documentation related to the API can be found at the ‘API Documentation’ tab. The API allows the user access to all of the center’s geographical information, both physical and cultural. This would allow the user, for instance, to pull geographic data from the center’s database directly into a standalone mapping project. Just as with Antiquity À-la-carte, the data is released under the terms of the Creative Commons License. AWMC welcomes (and encourages!) user feedback.


Polygon Search updated

November 30, 2012 in Updates

We fixed an error where searching by area did not return full feature information. The search should now be working as intended.


Modern Data

November 14, 2012 in Updates

We have now added modern GIS data (elevation from USGS GTOPO30, all other data from VMAP0 shape files created by GIS-Lab) which allows you to easily visualize changes in geography from antiquity to the present. At the moment we have modern layers for elevation, hill shades, coastlines, inland water, and open water.

For instance, if you are interested in the Po river (ancient Padus/Eridanus), you see the ancient geography as the default view:

By enabling the Modern Open Water layer, you will place the modern data set underneath the ancient one. You can then use the transparency slider on the ancient layer in order to highlight the difference between the two sets, as in the following example:

The link to this particular view is:{“zoom”:”5″,”center”:”lon=12.181122842056,lat=45.051409735141″,”pids”: []}

Please note that the modern elevation and hill shade layers are offered at a significantly lower resolution than their ancient counterparts, due to our desire to focus our time and resources on ancient geography.


New Features – Linking to Maps Part 3

November 2, 2012 in Updates

We have one additional feature that makes linking to our maps even easier. Under the File menu in the map panel you will find a new option: Map URL.

Clicking on this option will spawn a popup which has a clickable link to the current map state:

In this case the url is:{“zoom”:”6″,”center”:”lon=26.865381755052,lat=38.848414981353″,”pids”: [{"pid": "550812"},{"pid": "599612"},{"pid": "550893"},{"pid": "550908"},{"pid": "222192"},{"pid": "507469"},{"pid": "550898"},{"pid": "599947"},{"pid": "897849"},{"pid": "550595"},{"pid": "550696"},{"pid": "550497"}]}

If you click on this link, a new window will appear zoomed and centered to your current map view. You can simply cut and paste this URL into your own site, which will allow visitors to interact with any map that you create.

At the moment this only supports features that are in the Pleiades data set, so any customization will be lost (this is due to the fact that the URL generated will certainly become too large if we allow for customization of that kind). We are working on an alternative method for linking to maps using  POST parameters, but for now this is an easy and quick way to generate customized map views for external websites. As usual, please feel free to comment on this functionality, along with any suggestions for improvement.


New Features – Linking to Maps Part 2

November 1, 2012 in Updates

The remainder of our linking code was completed much sooner than we anticipated, so this post outlines more options for linking to a customized À-la-carte map. All of our linking options are detailed at this page, which we will update as this functionality continues to expand.

You can now link to À-la-carte using feature names, Pleiades IDs, or through a json string, all of which are explained below.

Linking Through a Feature Name

Simply append the following to the url:


So, to link to a map with Athens already placed on it, your url would look like the following:

This parameter behaves exactly like the search function in the main application, so placing a partial name (i.e. pergam for Pergamum: will return all places that have pergam in their name. Similarly, setting the parameter to Alexandria ( will place all locations named Alexandria on the map.


Linking Through a Pleiades ID

Just like the name parameter, linking via a Pleiades ID is a simple matter. Just place the Pleiades ID after the ?pid=  parameter (you can obtain a Pleiades ID for a feature from À-la-carte, Pelagios, or directly from Pleiades). For example, the Pleiades ID for Athens is: 579885. The URL to link to an À-la-carte map of this id is:

Note that, unlike the names parameter, the pid parameter will only return one feature. This is very useful if you only want to display a specific feature on the map.


Linking Through json

This option gives you the most control and flexibility when linking to À-la-carte, and is extremely useful for mapping existing projects.  Do not be intimidated by the format, as json is designed to be human readable and is easily modified. It is simply a formated list and is trivial to make from any source of names or Pleiades IDs.

You three main choices when sending json to À-la-carte:

  1. A list of names
  2. A list of Pleiades IDs
  3. “Raw” json directly from Pleiades

All of these options share the same parameter: jsonGet


Linking Through json: Names

For this, the json should look like the following:

{“names”:[{"name":somename], {“name”:”some other name”}]}

So, for a list of Alexandria, Athens, Rome, and Sparta the json is:

{“names”: [{"name": "Alexandria"}, {"name": "Athens"}, {"name": "Rome"}, {"name": "Sparta"}]}

Simply add


to the front of your json string and append this to the url, as in the following example:{“names”: [{"name": "Alexandria"}, {"name": "Athens"}, {"name": "Rome"}, {"name": "Sparta"}]}

You will now see all of the places populated on the map. Once again, this behaves exactly like the search function on the map, so you may get multiple results for a single place name.


Linking Through json: Pleiades IDs

This functionality is nearly identical to the names discussed above, although it uses different keys in the json string.

The json should follow this format:

{“pids”: [{"pid": "somepid"}, {"pid": "some other pid"}]}

A potential pid list should look like the following:

{“pids”: [{"pid": "30205"}, {"pid": "876562"}, {"pid": "422995"}, {"pid": "550812"}]}

Simply add


to the front of your .son string and append this to the url, as in the following example:{“pids”: [{"pid": "30205"}, {"pid": "876562"}, {"pid": "422995"}, {"pid": "550812"}]}

You will now see all of the places populated on the map.


Antiquity À-la-carte 2.0

October 31, 2012 in News, Updates

Antiquity À-la-carte 2.0

The Ancient World Mapping Center is pleased to release version 2.0 of the Antiquity à la Carte application. Version 1.0 appeared in spring 2012 and served as a proof of concept for the mapping application. The application, engineered by Ryan Horne, provides the user with a map base that can be populated by drawing on the collective databases of the Ancient World Mapping Center and the Pleiades Project. The new version, more fully featured, offers the user a range of new capabilities, including:

  • The option of saving data sets assembled using the application and that of uploading data to the map (.json).
  • Options for both printing and exporting the map created using the application; combining the export functionality with the ‘numbered features’ option provides an ideal template for a map-based quiz or examination.
  • Version 2.0 makes extensive use of linked data opportunities by connecting to the Pleiades Project and participating in the linked data initiatives of the Pelagios Project. For Pleiades community editors and members, editing of Pleaides can happen directly by means of this interactive feature of the application.
  • Version 2.0 offers an updated visual interface and site layout.
  • Version 2.0 allows other websites to communicate directly with the application using .json objects or text parameters in the url.
  • Version 2.0 allows the user to create a range of line work, polygons, and shading that then appear in the exported version.

These are but a few of the new features offered by Antiquity à la Carte 2.0. We encourage feedback from members of the community who use the application – your comments will help AWMC improve the application. Users can also become registered members of this site and thus be able to closely follow the discussion and receive word of further updates.

AWMC is especially grateful to the invaluable assistance provided by our colleague Joe Ryan of UNC ITS Research Computing.