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Atlastory Base Map

Atlastory is the visualization of history on a map. The goal is to create a free interactive web map that spans all of history, with the ability to see what the world looked like 20, 50, or 1,000 years+ in the past. For further discussion and collaboration outside of GitHub, visit

This is the Atlastory Base Map, a political and cultural map that spans human history. To contribute, Fork the repo and issue a pull request.


Please read the Contributor Agreement before making any contributions. Below is more detail on the structure of this repo and the base map in general.

Best practices >>


├── africa
├── asia
│   ├── admin-1
│   │   ├── 1871-1900.geojson
│   │   └── 1900-1910.geojson
│   └── admin-2
│       └── 1900-1920.geojson
├── central-america
└── central-asia
  1. Regions — the region of the world
  2. Types — each folder is a map type level
  3. Time periods — each type folder has GeoJSONs representing the time period for that data

(1) Regions

General split lines:

  1. north-america: North America (+Greenland)
  2. central-america: Central America (+Caribbean)
  3. south-america: South America
  4. africa: Africa
  5. europe: Europe
  6. middle-east: Middle East
  7. central-asia: Central Asia (+Russia)
  8. asia: Asia (+Southeast Asia)
  9. oceania: Australia, NZ, Pacific
  10. antarctica : Antarctica

Each region will later be combined to form a global map. So the split doesn't need to be exactly down these lines -- as long as 2 GeoJSON files in the same period don't replicate a shape. So Ukraine can be included in central-asia in one period and europe in another.

(2) Shape types (level-name object type — Shape type(s))

  • admin-1 polygon — sovereignty, country, dependency, colony
  • admin-2 polygon — state, province, republic, ...
  • admin-3 polygon — county, ...
  • settlement point — city, capital-[1-3], town, village

(3) Time periods (GeoJSON)

  • Must be in GeoJSON format (projection is always WGS 84 (4326))
  • Periods can be any length in 1-year intervals.
  • Years begin and end on January 1. So the file 1940-1945 goes from January 1, 1940 to January 1, 1945. The file 1945-1946 spans the one-year period January 1, 1945 to January 1, 1946.
  • Periods can be changed to whatever necessary as the map data changes over time.
  • Periods should never overlap within the same type.
    • Correct: 1850-1855, 1855-1861, 1861-1864, 1875-1880
    • Incorrect: 1850-1855, 1853-1861, 1860-1864, 1875-1880

Common data attributes:

  • name full name
  • name_md medium name abbreviation <= 17 characters
  • name_sm short name abbreviation <=5 characters
  • type see 'Shape types' above (sovereignty, city, etc.)
  • sovereignty full name of sovereign country (if applicable)
  • description
  • date_start specific start date YYYY-MM-DD of object (if present)
  • date_end specific end date YYYY-MM-DD of object (if present)
  • _color (required for admin-1 shape type) specify the number representing the color of the sovereignty's tint band
    1. Turquoise
    2. Green
    3. Lime
    4. Yellow
    5. Orange
    6. Red
    7. Purple


Atlastory base map (political and cultural)






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