The Time-Layered Cultural Map platform (TLCMap) is a software ecosystem meeting the digital mapping needs of humanities and social science researchers, from beginner to advanced. Two key features are the capacity to view changes in cultural data over time and the use of deep maps which combine multiple layers of data to visualise patterns and relationships in complex spatio-temporal and cultural materials.

While there are well-developed stand-alone data archives for social and cultural research in Australia, the current TLCMap is unique in offering the means to visualise and interrogate historical and cultural data organised through spatio-temporal coordinates. It serves humanities and social science researchers who are interested in using spatio-temporal data, but are held back by their lack of spatial and digital data skills. The TLC Map 2.0 project will enhance the platform through improved connectivity to external platforms and archives such as the Historical and Colonial Census Data Archive, AusStage, The Prosecution Project, and national place name authorities. New features in the handling of spatial and temporal data will be added such as a Map Finder index of all points in all registered data sets, a Quick Coordinates ‘KML from CSV’ tool, and a Map to Text tool.

TLCMap 2.0 will be a no-code or low-code ‘data fusion’ platform allowing researchers to connect to multiple data sources; use pre-existing or custom-made spatio-temporal tools to analyse and visualise data with minimal programming knowledge; export results to standard analytics tools; and enrich data sources with spatio-temporal tags. It will further lower the barrier to entry for humanities and social science researchers through better pathways in the website, adding tutorials and documentation, and new features.

Start date 22 February 2021
Expected completion date 31 January 2022
Investment by ARDC $100,000
Lead node
1 Quick coordinates tool
A tool to create KML or GeoJSON files from CSV files which allows users to prepare a dataset in CSV outside the platform in a spreadsheet, then import it to TLCMap and create a valid KML or GeoJSON file which can then be registered as a public dataset and indexed in the Gazetteer for discovery for any TLCMap user.
2 Data integrations
Large static datasets will be processed and made accessible via TLCMap, including Criminal Characters, A History of NSW Aborigines Protection/Welfare Board 1883-1969, Dark Places Australian True Crime locations, Trove Newspaper Publication Locations and Dates, Austage Corroboree data and VICNAMES gazetted dates.
3 Gazetteer and Finder enhancements
The Gazetteer of Historical Australian Placenames will be enhanced by linking records to other data. For example, Gazetteer records (i.e. places) will be linked to placenames in the various tables of the censuses from the Historical and Colonial Census Data Archive. A dataset of 20,000+ geolocated bushfire mentions in the Trove newspaper archive will also be linked to the Gazetteer records. This will allow new foundational data layers for TLCMap to be created.
4 Documentation
Researchers will be supported to use TLCMap by the creation of new user documentation, e.g. on data longevity, data structure and standards, and where to deposit data.

Core features

Easily create maps
There are tools to enable users to easily create maps from humanities information.
Search and find
Search an online spatiotemporal window to Australian humanities research and datasets. Search within and across layers.
Spatio-temporal visualisation
TLCMap enables humanities researchers to build digital spatio-temporal maps and create interactive visualisations without advanced spatial data skills on the web.

Who is this project for?

  • Researchers
  • Research organisations
  • Government (state and commonwealth)
  • General Public

What does this project enable?

The TLC Map 2.0 will update the Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia to make it easier to create and find humanities information based on place and time, improving the understanding of the history and meaning of places in Australia.

Handy resources

University of NewcastleVisit
Edith Cowan UniversityVisit
University of New EnglandVisit
University of MelbourneVisit
University of SydneyVisit
Western Sydney UniversityVisit
Australian National Placenames SurveyVisit