Canvas Empire: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

What We Make


Yes, we make maps, both static and interactive. Our preference is for the latter: our priority is to produce a broad range of map layers that can be arranged and rearranged by the user, in combinations we might or might not have anticipated. We think of our maps both as research outputs and as conduits to new questions and interpretations of the past.

A Gazetteer

Without location, there is no map. But naming and locating places—particularly those that have been forgotten, ruined, relocated, or renamed—is painstaking work. It is perhaps the biggest obstacle preventing scholars from exploring the geospatial contexts of their work. We are confident that if we build the right gazetteer, the payoff for individual and collaborative research will be worth the effort. At the moment, the Imperiia gazetteer contains more than 50,000 toponyms. Do you have data you would like to map? We can help.


Organizing historical evidence according to the logic of a database is a core task of our project. We produce high-quality, clearly structured, well-documented data that can be visualized, analyzed, and augmented. Read more about our datasets.

A Platform for Telling Stories

The stories we tell are inherently visual and intentionally interactive. They do not always conform neatly to the printed page (though we have an enduring fondness for printed pages!). Nor do they always follow straight lines. We analyze, interpret, and narrate, but our goal is to build a platform through which you can do the same, guided by your own curiosity and interest.

And that isn’t all.

We are building teaching modules, galleries of visual material, solutions to common digital humanities problems, project documentation, and a constantly evolving vision for the future of historical research.

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