TLCMap is a set of tools that work together for mapping Australian history and culture. We are developing systems for humanities researchers and community to build maps for different purposes, which can be shared, combined, searched and visualised in different ways, from finding places in texts, to representing indigenous knowledge, to statistical analysis of spatiotemporal data, to journey animations.

Quick Start


  • Go to the Gazetteer of Historical Australian Places
  • Enter a word or phrase.
  • Choose, ‘fuzzy’, ‘contains’ or ‘exact’ and search.
  • Select ‘Gazetteer’ to search placenames in the ANPS aggregated gazetteer of state and historical place names, and/or ‘Layers’ to search within community contributed layers.
  • Use the ‘Map Viewer’ drop down to view results in different ways.
  • Click the ‘Layer’ for each result to see where it came from and what else is in that layer.

What’s Here?

  • To ask “What’s here?” Draw a shape on the map and click the search button to find anything in any TLCMap layer there.
  • You can combine searches and filters. Eg: you can search for ‘Mayfield’ within a circle.
  • Click ‘Advanced Search’ to apply other filters to your search. Not that this depends on items in the database being tagged with this information and it is not in all cases. Eg: if you select LGA you won’t necessarily get everything within the LGA, unless it has been marked. If you select the feature term ‘mountain’ you will only find mountains that have been flagged as such.

Get Coordinates To Create Map Layers

To create a digital map you need coordinates. There are many tools to create digital maps and map layers and to get coordinates to associate with whatever you are trying to map. There are already existing GIS systems to create advanced maps which are often complicated or require an expert. Two easy ways to get coordinates are:

  • TLMCap Quick Coordinates: create a table or import a spreadsheet that you already have, and click the map to add coordinates to it. This includes a search for many Australian placenames that can’t be found in Google.
  • Google Earth and My Maps: create a layer to put points and information on a map, and export or save it as a KML file.

If you already have coordinates or a digital mapping file, TLCMap is compatible with these common, standard mapping formats:

  • CSV: a simple spreadsheet format. Many people get started by adding a latitude and longitude column to a spreadsheet. You can save an Excel spreadsheet as a CSV file.
  • KML: an XML standard created by Google but now widely used. Google Earth or Google My Maps is an easy way to get started making a map. You can save or export them as KML files.
  • GeoJSON: GeoJSON is another standard format popular with software developers, and independent of Google.

You should be able to export mapping information from another system in one of these formats, for import into TLCMap.

Add A Layer

Adding a layer to the Gazetteer of Historical Australian Places means you can:

  • Make humanities information more discoverable
  • contribute to the deeper meaning of places and people’s knowledge of culture
  • create interesting and interactive map visualisations
  • share you maps on the web
  • gain new insights into research through visualisation and analysis

You can add one or two places, or upload a file of thousands of records.

To add a layer:

Create A Login

  • Click ‘Login’ at the top right, ‘Register to set up a login’ and enter the details.
  • Follow the instructions in the email confirmation. (Check your spam, clutter or trash folders if you don’t see the email).

Create Layer

  • Click ‘Login’ at the top right and login.
  • Click ‘Create Layer’, and fill in the details. Only a ‘Title’ and ‘Description’ are required.

Upload Layer

  • When the layer is created you can add information to it in two ways.
  • Click ‘Add To Layer’ to add records one at a time. This might be useful if you just want to quickly add a couple of things.
  • Click ‘Import From File’ to upload a CSV, KML or GeoJSON file. You can save a spreadsheet as a ‘CSV’ file. It must have a ‘title’ or ‘placename’ column, and a column each for ‘latitude’ and ‘longitude’. Other columns are recommended, or optional.

Visualise Layer

  • Choose a viewing option from ‘Map Viewer’.
  • Copy the URL from the address bar of your browser to share the layer, a record within it, or a visualisation of it.

See the GHAP Guide for more detailed instructions, including how to name columns in spreadsheets.

More Tools And Visualisations

Join the Email List for updates and announcements. We promise we won’t spam and won’t use your email for unrelated purposes.

Research and development is ongoing through many iterations. For humanities mapping needs development is at very different stages. Some things are already well developed but need some tweaking or just need an interface to make it easy for non experts. Timelines for example are available in most mapping systems, but don’t handle historic dates well. While others, like handling cycles and mapping within and across multi-media we need to develop basic prototypes for.

We are also developing tools at various stages to structure and visualise time and space in different ways for Humanities. Prioritisation is driven by feasibility and user needs. Some of the things we’ll be working on in the coming months and years (pending funding) include:

  • Journeys
  • Cyclical movement
  • Migration of people and things
  • Finding place names in texts and mapping them
  • Mapping images and media
  • Integration with institutional collections

Self Paced Course and FAQs

For an introduction to digital mapping in humanities, including some theory and practical examples try the TLCMap Mapping Course.

More questions? Try the FAQs


TLCMap tools are designed to cater for a range of different needs and to be interoperable so that you can move information from one to another. You might already have spatiotemporal data, or you might want to create it, to modify it, analyse or visualise it, so can start and finish with any tool. Here’s an indication of which tools might be useful at each step in an end to end process.


Quick Coordinates to quickly add coordinates to a list of places in a spreadsheet, or to obtain from from an image such as an old map.

You can also create with other tools that are compatible with TLCMap, such as:

  • Google maps – simply right clicking to get coordinates to put in a spreadsheet.
  • Google Earth to create a project and export a KML file to import into TLCMap.
  • Omeka S for linked data and collections.
  • Heurist for more complex databases.


Gazetteer of Historical Australian Places (GHAP) to search for place names in the most comprehensive gazetteer of Australian placenames, including some historical and indigenous placenames in Australia, and to search within and across humanities map layers contributed by others.

ADA Dataverse and other research data repositories and libraries to find spatiotemporal datasets.


Add a layer to the Gazetteer of Historical Australian Places (GHAP) to easily create maps for different humanities needs, from simply adding dots with information to a 3D map, to journeys by route or by date, or with a timeline, or to fly over. Information can be linked back to your project or collection. These maps can be shared and embedded in your web page.

Other visualisations are in prototype form and slated for development, resources permitting, such as:

  • Temporal Earth to visualise change layers of information on a map with a timeline.
  • Ordinal Time to view the order in which places occur, such as the order they occur in a text, or in which they must be visited on a journey, without necessarily having specific dates.


Being able to visualise layers on maps, and on timelines allows for visual comparison.

A prototype has been developed for ‘Spatiotemporal Metrics’ to relatively easily obtain basic statistics and network clustering information about spatiotemporal data, enabling comparison, identification of unseen patterns and quantitative demonstrations. This will be integrated into the Gazetteer, so that metrics on any layer or search result can be obtained with the click of a button.

The ability to export data from TLCMap systems in standard formats such as CSV, KML and GeoJSON allows for further analysis in Excel or statistical applications.


Describo and ROCrate for creating packages of research data and information for archiving in the longer term, with features for spatiotemporal data. If you are not sure where to archive research data, we suggest ADA Dataverse.

Gazetteer of Historical Australian Places (GHAP) Adding a spatial layer for your project to the gazetteer makes it more discoverable and provides interactive visualisations and can drive traffic to your project website, as well as contributing to a deeper understanding of Australian culture and places for everyone. Import and export of data in standard formats to and from the gazetteer also helps prepare research quality datasets for archiving. Please bear in mind GHAP is not research data repository and you should also deposit your research data somewhere that provides assurances about long term storage.