Version 3 due in June!

We have been busy, with both software and content development. Version 3 of the World Historical Gazetteer has been in development since February 2023, and a beta version will be available mid-2024. What follows is a brief outline of what we have been working on, much of which came as suggestions from our user community. Details will follow in the coming weeks and months, on this blog and on Twitter. We do expect to establish a Mastodon account soon as well.

Version 3 (alpha) home page

New “Gazetteer Builder” feature

  • Link multiple datasets in a single collection, e.g. for a group or individual to assemble a “Historical Gazetteer of {x}”
  • Merge multiple datasets into new dataset

Home page

  • A map(!), with search and advanced search
  • ‘Carousels’ of published datasets and collections, with extents previewed on the map
  • Improved explanation of what the WHG offers
  • News and announcements


  • All 14 maps on the site significantly upgraded
  • Most maps now have temporal controls: a timespan ‘slider’ and/or a sequence ‘player’
  • Faster display of large datasets and collections, thanks to WHG’s own new “tileboss” server


  • Search now across all published records-the confusing “search the index or database” choice is gone!
  • Options for ‘starts with”, “contains”, “similar to” (aka fuzzy) as well as ‘exact’
  • Spatial filter on search results
  • More information returned in search result items

Place Portal pages

  • Complete makeover of its design
  • Physical geographic context: ecoregions, watersheds, rivers, boundaries
  • Nearby places
  • Preview of annotated collections that include the place

Publication and editorial workflow

  • We are now especially highlighting three types of publications: Datasets, annotated Place Collections, and Dataset Collections
  • Expanded Managing Editor role
  • Improved tracking of contributors and data, from ‘interested’ to full accessioning
  • DOIs for data publications, enhanced metadata, significantly enhanced presentation pages
  • Improved download options

Annotated place collections for teaching

  • Support for class and workshop group scenarios
  • Optional image per annotation
  • Order places sequentially with or without dates
  • Enhanced display and temporal control options
  • Optional gallery per class
  • Site-wide student gallery

“My Data” dashboard and profile

  • Single page, simpler

Study Areas

  • Discontiguous areas, e.g. Iberian peninsula and S. America as a single area

API and data dumps

  • More endpoints, better documented
  • Regular dumps of published data in multiple formats


  • Improved file upload validation and error reporting
  • The codebase is now “dockerized,” making it much easier to contribute to the platform’s development
  • Upgraded versions of all major components: Django, PostgreSQL, Elasticsearch, etc.
  • All map-related functions refactored for efficiency

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