University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab releases new maps as part of American Panorama historical atlas project

December 15, 2015

University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) has just released four sets of new maps in a series called “American Panorama,” a historical atlas of the U.S.

These first maps in the American Panorama project include:

  • "The Forced Migration of Enslaved People," showing the movement of nearly a million people, the majority through the domestic slave trade, across the South in the half-century before the Civil War.
  • "The Overland Trails," mapping the long and arduous emigrations of men and women over the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails in the 1840s and 50s.
  • The "Foreign-Born Population" map set, enabling users to explore the connections that tied migrants to the U.S. to the places they were born.
  • And "Canals," mapping the growth of artificial waterways and economic development in the antebellum period by presenting data about the commodities and products that moved across the canals.

The maps can be accessed online at

“These maps are just a beginning,” said Robert Nelson, director of the DSL. “Starting with maps on inequality in twentieth-century cities and urban renewal, American Panorama will regularly grow to cover the full breadth of American history.”

“American Panorama will appeal to anyone with an interest in American history or a love of maps,” Nelson said.

American Panorama was produced as part of a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The DSL partnered with Stamen Design to develop these first maps and the mapping software for the project. That software is being released open source for others to use to make their own maps.

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