The GIS Forma Urbis Romae Project: Creating a Layered History of Rome


  • James Tice University of Oregon



Using advanced GIS technology and accepted scholarly methods, this multi-disciplinary project intends to create a layered history of Rome by updating Forma Urbis Romae, the cartographic masterpiece of ancient Roman topography published in 1901 by archeologist Rodolfo Lanciani. This extremely accurate map measures 25 by 17 ft and uses an innovative graphic system that represents Rome’s historic urban fabric as a series of transparent layers from ancient to modern. The map remains the standard archeological reference for Rome even though it does not incorporate archeological discoveries uncovered since its original publication 100 years ago. We plan to critically examine, update and eventually republish the map as an interactive website that will also serve as a dynamic geo-database for scholars and others. Our project team will bring its considerable experience in web-based design in the study of the humanities to ensure a highly intuitive product that is accessible, interactive and expandable.