ArticlePDF Available

Geolocating Ottoman Settlements: The Use of Historical Maps for Digital Humanities

Authors:

Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate and discuss the ways historical maps are used for geo-spatial and digital humanities, as well as their challenges, based on an ongoing project that aims to geolocate settlements in Ottoman Turkey, as registered in the mid-nineteenth century. As part of an ERC project, the project team has georeferenced historical maps of Asia Minor published by official institutions in the early twentieth century. Utilising these maps, the project team has been working on determining the present-day locations of Ottoman settlements as surveyed in the population registers of the 1840s and creating a geodatabase that aims to make the geographical and demographic information on these registers available and accessible to historians and social scientists. In the paper, we first introduce the Ottoman population registers and the ways we digitise and analyse these registers and then give a background on the maps we employ in these efforts. We then aim to explain the process of georeferencing these maps, the ways we bring together both the registers and the maps to locate these villages on the present-day maps, and the challenges/problems we encounter in this process. In the final part of the paper, we discuss how this project's end results could be employed for new questions, approaches, and debates in studies on modern Ottoman-Turkish history within the framework of perspectives developed in digital humanities.
Geolocating Ottoman Settlements: The Use of Historical Maps
for Digital Humanities
Jilian Ma a,*, Akın Sefer a, M. Erdem Kabadayı a
a Koç University, jma19@ku.edu.tr, aksefer@ku.edu.tr, mkabadayi@ku.edu.tr
*Corresponding author
Abstract: This paper aims to demonstrate and discuss the ways historical maps are used for geo-spatial and digital
humanities, as well as their challenges, based on an ongoing project that aims to geolocate settlements in Ottoman Turkey,
as registered in the mid-nineteenth century. As part of an ERC project, the project team has georeferenced historical maps
of Asia Minor published by official institutions in the early twentieth century. Utilising these maps, the project team has
been working on determining the present-day locations of Ottoman settlements as surveyed in the population registers of
the 1840s and creating a geodatabase that aims to make the geographical and demographic information on these registers
available and accessible to historians and social scientists. In the paper, we first introduce the Ottoman population registers
and the ways we digitise and analyse these registers and then give a background on the maps we employ in these efforts.
We then aim to explain the process of georeferencing these maps, the ways we bring together both the registers and the
maps to locate these villages on the present-day maps, and the challenges/problems we encounter in this process. In the
final part of the paper, we discuss how this project's end results could be employed for new questions, approaches, and
debates in studies on modern Ottoman-Turkish history within the framework of perspectives developed in digital
humanities.
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Historical Maps, Geolocation
1. Introduction
Historical maps are valuable reference sources for our
understanding of the past, bearing retrospective
geographic information. This paper aims to demonstrate
and discuss how historical maps are used for geo-spatial
humanities and the challenges of doing so, based on an
ongoing project that aims to geolocate all the settlements
in Ottoman Anatolia, as registered in the mid-nineteenth
century. As part of the ERC Project,
UrbanOccupationsOETR, (Industrialisation and Urban
Growth from the mid-nineteenth century Ottoman Empire
to Contemporary Turkey in a Comparative Perspective,
1850-2000, urbanoccupations.ku.edu.tr), the project team
has georeferenced German and Ottoman-Turkish
historical maps prepared and published in the early
twentieth century by official institutions. Using these maps,
the project team has been working on determining and
geolocating Ottoman settlements' present-day locations as
surveyed in the population registers of the 1830s and 1840s.
In this process, through the QGIS, an open-source
geographic information system (GIS) program, the
1 We already started to share selected datasets and
visualizations at urbanoccupations.ku.edu.tr/public-
datasets/
population registers and historical maps are integrated into
a demographic dataset that aims to make the information
on these registers available and accessible to historians and
social scientists.1 This paper will outline the geolocation
efforts and their challenges in this process and then discuss
how the geodatabases produced as part of these efforts
could further our understanding of the social and economic
history of the Ottoman Empire.
1.1 Population Registers, Historical Maps, and
Geolocation
In this research, as our main primary sources, we use the
Ottoman population registers compiled in the 1830s and
the 1840s. For our purposes, we focus on all settlements
located on the western half of present-day Turkey (west of
about 34°E). These registers are in jpeg format and
available from the Department of Ottoman Archives in the
Turkish Presidency State Archives (BOA. NFS.d.
catalogue series). There are currently around 11,000
population registers catalogued in the Ottoman archives,
covering Asia Minor and the Ottoman Balkans
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
geographically. These sources were made available
relatively recently in 2011, and therefore their huge
potential has not yet been exhausted by historians of the
Ottoman Empire. The registers provide detailed
information of each male inhabitant in every household,
including names, ages, family relations, occupations and
data on birth, death and migration. Usually, the registers
were compiled based on a kaza, a sub-district, (smaller
than NUTS-3 and compatible with LAU-1 level for
modern Turkey) administered originally by a judge (kadı),
and following the mid-nineteenth century bureaucratic
reforms, by a town administrator (kaymakam or kaza
müdürü). In the Ottoman administrative hierarchy, few or
several kazas formed a province (sancak or vilayet). Often
each register recorded a single district divided into a city
or town and the surrounding villages. The usual practice
records Muslims and non-Muslims of the same kaza in
different registers, though in many cases, one can find non-
Muslims recorded in the same register with Muslims,
especially in places where the former were a minority (For
a detailed introduction of the population register and its
mechanism in the late Ottoman Empire, see Shaw, 1978).
By means of these registers, we have created a database
consisting of information not only on the number of male
subjects and the total number of households in each
location but also on the demographic distribution of this
population across various categories. In addition to ethno-
religious differences, the registers also provide detailed
information that reflected official differentiation between
residential (yerli) and non-residential (yabancı) groups.
The latter group of people were also differentiated among
themselves, across their residential units, tribal belonging,
or particularly in cases with substantial numbers of labour
migrants, their occupations. As a result, geolocating these
places create a unique opportunity to conduct data-driven
studies on how spatial factors entangled with socio-
economic, demographic, and cultural processes in the mid-
nineteenth century Ottoman Empire.
Figure 1. Samples of different layouts of the registers (from
BOA.NFS.d. 694; NFS.d. 1423; and NFS.d. 1361 respectively,
from left to right).
Based on these registers, we try to find and locate the
geographical units as recorded within each kaza. These
units most commonly refer to villages, complemented by
a city/town at the centre and at times by çiftliks (farms),
Ottoman (often export-oriented) agricultural units.
Unfortunately, locating a nineteenth-century geographical
unit is a task full of challenges and problems, first and
foremost due to the nonexistence of an Ottoman gazetteer
and secondly to the lack of detailed maps that
systematically recorded village-level units in the mid-
nineteenth century Ottoman Empire. Since systematic
efforts in this regard were launched rather later, the
cartographical sources we use are dated back to the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the maps
of this kind is the Karte von Kleinasien compiled by the
German cartographer Richard Kiepert (1846-1915), under
the far-reaching impact of his father, the famous
cartographer Heinrich Kiepert. This is a 24-sheet series at
a scale of 1:400,000, in which Anatolia was divided into
23 regions and mapped in separate sheets. Dietrich Reimer,
between 1902 and 1906, first published it, and several
revisions were made up to 1916 (Kiepert - TDV İslâm
Ansiklopedisi; Talbert, 2019). Kiepert map of Anatolia is
available online in several versions via numerous
respected libraries. The glossary and legends are Ottoman
Turkish in transliterated style. Another set of maps with
the umbrella name Trkei from the Deutsche
Heereskarte are also employed for georeferencing. They
were produced by German military cartographers between
1941 and 1944 and revised in later years (Scharfe, 2003).
Each sheet was named individually and based on separate
original Turkish maps at a scale of 1:200,000. Various
versions of the Deutsche Heereskarte are again available
online via academic institutions, the largest of which is
provided by the McMaster University library.
Nevertheless, none of the online collections is complete for
Turkey. Therefore, we obtained our digital copies of the
Deutsche Heereskarte, Turkey, personally from the
Austrian Federal Office of Metrology and Surveyings
(BUV) Cartography Department / Historical Map Archive
in Vienna. During WWII, the Deutsche Heereskarte of
Turkey was produced by the German Oberkommando des
Heeres in Vienna, and there is an institutional continuity
in the archives of the BUV. The glossary and legends are
in German and Turkish. In addition to these German map
series, we also consult the Ottoman maps issued by the
Erkan-ı Harbiye Umumiye Harita Heyeti (Map Committee
of the Military Staff College) between 1910 and 1927.
Ninety-four individual maps covering the main regions of
Anatolia are referred. They are at a scale of 1:200,000, and
the glossary and legends are in Ottoman Turkish (For the
production of these maps, see Özağaç, 2006, pp. 59–82).
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
2 of 8
Figure 2. Three sheets of maps from Karte von Kleinasien,
Deutsche Heereskarte and Erkan-ı Harbiye series respectively,
from top to down.
These three sets of maps are known to be the earliest
systematic attempts to cover the entire Anatolia village by
village. They are topographic maps showing
professionally surveyed landforms, boundaries, locality
names, and transportation lines, etc., in detail. Our project
team georeferenced these maps. Together with
contemporary maps and satellite images by various
providers, they are imported to the QGIS program and
configured as source layers to the QGIS canvas, serving as
additional comparative tools for our geolocating procedure.
Figure 3. A combined overall Karte von Kleinasien as shown on
the QGIS canvas. Deutsche Heereskarte and Erkan-ı Harbiye
maps are combined in a similar way.
2. Geolocating procedure
For every village to geolocate, we extract its location
information, register information, population and ethno-
religious information from the corresponding register.
Location information includes the name of a settlement,
the administrative units it belonged to at the time it was
surveyed, and the location type of the settlement (town,
village, etc.). These data are indicated in the headline of a
particular settlement in the population registers. In
addition to information on the register that we utilise for
our purposes (e.g. its type, date, page numbers), we enter
the demographic data we extract from the records. These
include information on the total count of male individuals
and their households, the official classification across their
ethnic-religious belonging, and the categories mentioned
above for non-residents.
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
3 of 8
Figure 4. Extracting information from the register (BOA. NFS.d. 1333).
After extracting a particular villages name and its
administrative division data from the register, we decide
where to locate it. For those settlements that have survived
to the present day with their original names on registers,
this procedure is straightforward, as we follow its present-
day location, though we still confirm that they were in the
same place in the past. Our confirmation process starts first
by considering how they were recorded on the register: In
many cases, we can reveal a pattern where Ottoman census
officials follow a certain geographical route in recording
the villages, which records a settlement before or after a
nearby one on the register. A complementary way to do so
is to consult with the above-mentioned historical maps to
confirm their presence at the same location in the early
twentieth century. We also consider the fact that the
original site of a settlement could be moved due to a
catastrophic event (e.g. earthquakes or floods), the
emergence of a town nearby with the same name, or the
transformation of the landscape following the construction
of a dam or a mine on the original location.
A more challenging task is locating the settlements that
either totally disappeared or changed their names since the
mid-nineteenth century. If these changes happened during
the rest of the nineteenth century, we often could not locate
such settlements. However, many among such settlements
either disappeared or changed names during the first half
of the twentieth century, mainly due to catastrophic
population movements, including the Armenian Genocide
and the Greek-Turkish population exchange, or the
Turkification of several location names in this period. For
the ones that disappeared, we locate them in reference to
their stated location (if any) on the historical maps we use.
For the ones that changed their names, we often consult
with Index Anatolicus, the website of a database of
historical and current names of locations across present-
day Turkey (Index Anatolicus, 2021) and secondary
historical literature on the area. In both cases, we try to
confirm/support them with our historical map sources.
In cases where we can link a historical settlements
location with a current one, we locate it on its present-day
location on a satellite image (as provided by Google,
Yandex, or Bing). If the location's name no longer exists
on present-day maps, we refer to the historical maps. We
toggle one of the historical maps into an active layer in the
QGIS canvas and attempt to pinpoint the village on the
historical map by searching its vicinity according to its
administrative division and comparing it with its previous
and next settlement in the register. If this step is successful,
we add a point feature to the layer and geolocate it. In this
situation, we mark the location with an abbreviation of the
map source, such as “KP” for Kiepert’s Karte von
Kleinasien, “DH” for Deutsche Heereskarte and “EH” for
Erkan-ı Harbiye maps. For example, there are two villages
named “Manastır” and “Tepecik” in the register of
Karaburun kaza in the Suğla sancak. These names no
longer exist on contemporary maps. The villages might
have disappeared or been emptied due to an earthquake or
other reasons. We resorted to historical maps and found
that these two villages are shown on Kieperts Karte von
Kleinasien. Therefore, we marked their locations based on
their records on the map and marked them with KP (See
Figure 5). If the villages name exists on neither present-
day nor historical maps, we enter the villages information
to the attribute table without adding a point feature on the
layer. In this way, we ensure a complete entry of all the
settlements in the registers. Each time we add a point
feature to the layer, a feature form appears, which is
customised for data entry. We then transliterate the
location information, register information, and population
and ethno-religious information extracted from the register
and enter them as the points attributes in this form. Thus,
we complete a basic geolocation procedure. Adding a point
also yields the geographic coordinates of this village
automatically. These data are recorded synchronously in
the attribute table and therefore stored in the source data.
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
4 of 8
Figure 5. Geolocating the villages of Manastır and Tepecik based
on their location on the Karte von Kleinasien.
A highly complicated and time-consuming process as such
has been possible thanks to a collective effort that has
brought several historians and GIS specialists together.
Nevertheless, the challenges of this process are not limited
to technical issues or to finding missing villages. In effect,
the problems with the sources themselves could pose
particular challenges during this process. To begin with,
as the registers we consult were products of the first
systematic population count in the Ottoman Empire,
standards regarding registration were still not established,
creating critical differences across different registers of the
same location. These differences ranged from the absence
of orthographic standards in registering the names to the
variations in administrative belonging or in determining
who/where to register and how. The lack of orthographic
standards may pose particular risks for accurately locating
a historical place, as a result of variations in spelling by
different scribes in the era; challenges of differentiating
names with similar spelling in Ottoman handwriting (e.g.
if a village was named Dere ( دهر ) or Dede (هدد)); or
inconsistencies, especially in Kiepert or Deutsche
Heereskarte in transliterating Ottoman/Turkish names.
Such problems are particularly challenging for finding or
transliterating non-Turkish (mostly Greek and Armenian)
place names accurately. Population registers varied in
spelling them, just like early twentieth century maps did in
transliterating them. In most cases, we have been able to
overcome such problems through a comparative analysis
of different sources and/or with the help of the secondary
historical literature on the respective regions.
A particular challenge in geolocating Ottoman settlements
through mid-nineteenth century population registers
emanate from the fact that these registers were products of
an era marked by a continuous overhaul of the
administrative-bureaucratic structure of the Ottoman state.
As part of the Tanzimat reforms in the 1840s, the
administrative belonging or status of a specific location
changed continuously, sometimes at a pace difficult to
trace across different registers. But more importantly, for
our purposes, a core aim of the Ottoman reform era was to
sedentarise nomadic groups for tax-collection and
conscription purposes. In line with historical studies that
attributed this policy only a partial success, our registers
mark this processs difficulties for Ottoman bureaucracy
(Kasaba, 2009). The Ottoman registers of the era recorded
some of these groups as settled in identifiable locations,
predominantly an existing or newly-formed village,
whereas they recorded the others as being located around
or nearby a specific town or village. Even in the first
case, which points out to a more permanent type of
settlement, we need to approach such records cautiously,
since historical studies we consult when geolocating a
specific region suggest that in most cases, such villages did
not remain permanent, and mobility continued to define
the lifestyles of these nomadic groups. At times, our
historical maps confirm this, as only some of these
settlements appear as villages in the early twentieth
century. Although we are unable to verify whether these
became actual villages at the time of registration or rather
far later in the late nineteenth century, we have opted to
resolve this dilemma by taking the records for granted:
Whereas we geolocated the first group of settlements as
proper locations, we treated the second groups, which the
Ottoman officials did not attribute a specific, identifiable
location, as nomadic groups, rather than locations.
This brings us to a significant challenge posed by our
cartographical sources. In line with the military purposes
associated with these maps, and most likely due to varying
geostrategic significance of different regions in Anatolia
in different periods, these maps cover different parts of
Anatolia in varying levels of detail. In other words, they
could refrain from covering many of the villages in one
region, whereas they could record even the smallest
settlements (such as çiftliks) in another. Coupled with the
peculiar characteristics of administrative divisions in
certain areas, this has created difficulties in finding the
present-day locations of historical settlements in such
regions. An example in this regard can be shown through
Western Black Sea settlements, where the Ottoman
administrative division was marked by a distinct category
called divan, an administrative unit that brings together a
few villages. In most cases, the historical maps only locate
the divans without specifying the locations of the villages
within each division. In many cases, we can identify such
villages present-day locations through contemporary
sources, at least if they have preserved their historical
names today, either as the name of a village,
neighbourhood, or a street. But there are also dozens of
others which we, unfortunately, have failed to do so.
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
5 of 8
3. Discussion
So far, we have processed the geographic and demographic
data belonging to more than 10.000 settlements in the mid-
nineteenth century, which covered more than 500.000
households and 1.3 million male subjects (Ottoman
population registers record only males) living in the
western provinces of Asia Minor. In this process, we not
only transferred the data from the registers to the digital
environment but also processed them in relational
geodatabases by organizing, classifying and geolocating
according to specific standards. Moreover, with the help of
several secondary sources, these data were contextualized,
revealing the historical changes experienced by these
communities, ranging from the demolition of settlements
to name changes or spatial transformation. This process
has facilitated the collection, organization and
standardization of the data recorded in archival sources. In
this way, it offers historians and social scientists easier
access to such spatial data and enables them to conduct
further relational and statistical operations and geo-spatial
data analysis using these sources.
Figure 6. Data in the registers are digitised as an attribute table.
Each row represents a point feature (a village), and each column
a field.
Meanwhile, along with digitization, the villages textual
data are visualized in the digital platform through this
geolocation process. Extracting the population registers
2 Grigor Boykov, a former member of the
UrbanOccupationsOETR, launched a stand-alone project
that came out of our mid-nineteenth century geolocating
efforts in Southeast Europe. His Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowship project
POPGEO_BG (Population Geography of Bulgaria, 1500-
1920: An Historical Spatial Analysis, popgeo.ku.edu.tr)
geographical information, we mapped the villages with
geometric features and displayed them on the geo-spatial
web in the QGIS system. The visualization of texts
incorporated multilayered sources into a generative
environment. Written records of villages and their actual
spatial distributions are integrated and presented in one
digital platform, by which the results are produced and
disseminated more visibly and efficiently. This integration
also facilitates the simultaneous analysis of cartographical,
socio-economic, and demographic sources by means of
relational databases. Another feature of visualization is
that it opens the opportunity of exploring the spatial
patterns inherent within the data in ways that were never
previously possible (Gregory & Ell, 2007b, p. 90). As
these patterns are invisible in the textual records, digital
methods allow us to illustrate the connections between the
geographical distribution of settlements on one hand and
the demographic characteristics of these settlements on the
other.
Figure 7. Data in the registers are visualised as a map dotted with
point features. One point represents one village. Different colours
are used for the points in each kaza to make it easier to
distinguish.2
UrbanOccupationsOETR brings together Ottoman
population registers, historical maps, and cutting-edge
digital tools to store and analyse geo-spatial data. The
datasets collected and digitised from this project offer
further digital humanities practices in Ottoman studies.
Geographical Information System (GIS), as a type of
was hosted at Koç University in 2019, which he had to
abort before its completion. Yet in the limited time Boykov
geolocated around 4,000 locations in today’s Bulgaria
which can be seen in this figure following the same data
entry principles. We think our successful collaboration is
a good example for generative and interoperable potentials
of digital/geospatial history projects.
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
6 of 8
software that provides a way of representing features on
the Earths surface and a suite of operations that allow the
researcher to query, manipulate, visualise, and analyse
these representations (Gregory & Geddes, 2014, p. x), is
vital in the practice of geo-spatial/digital humanities. Its
application in historical research, from which a new field
named Historical GIS (HGIS) emerged, increased in the
mid-1990s (Gregory & Ell, 2007a, p. 1). Though a
latecomer in this field, Ottoman studies are very suitable
for and can benefit from HGIS/digital humanities
approaches due to the vast territories, long existence,
various ethno-religious communities, and diverse archival
sources of the Ottoman Empire (For a recent example see,
Ohanian et al., 2020; Singer, 2015). By integrating
different types of historical sources such as manuscripts
and maps with todays geographical technologies and tools,
historians can simultaneously evaluate, compare, and
analyse the huge data sources to conduct their research.
With innovations of source processing and new tools for
analysis, HGIS adds fresh insights and perspectives on old
research debates and can generate further research
questions. HGIS approaches emphasise the spatial context
and relationships of historical events. In our project, the
data in the population registers are not only historical but
also geographical in nature. The analytic formulation of
geolocation that comprises computerised techniques and
maps highlights and activates these datas spatial
components, which diverts our attention to the spatial
dimension of historical experiences of Ottoman people.
This is much evident, especially when such data are
employed in understanding the mobility of Ottoman
people in the nineteenth century. In a micro-historical
study that has come out of our project, such data have
allowed researchers to analyse how a small mountainous
village in the Ottoman Balkans, located on a land
physically isolated from other settlements and not suitable
for agriculture, could be integrated to the rest of the Empire
by means of labour migration (Sefer et al., 2021).
Besides adding the spatial dimension to the old questions,
HGIS tools' capability to process a large amount of data
and present their structures facilitates our analyses of long-
term and large-scale developments that could hardly be
done manually. The registers provide historical pictures of
individual lives, which shed light on the studies of
Ottoman birth rates, mortality, conscription, taxation,
family structures and migration patterns. Many studies on
these topics of a specific individual, kaza or sancak, can be
found in the existing literature. They are meaningful in
revealing the local situation at an individual level, but they
are limited to explore the local in a broader context and its
relationship with the others. With the assistance of
computerised analytical tools of HGIS, these individual
data can be aggregated and used to construct a
comprehensive picture synchronically, at the imperial
level, and diachronically, tracing its transformations over
generations. Moreover, the innovation of presenting data
in the digital platform changes our ways of reading and
seeing. The structures of points, lines and polygons
encourage us to investigate the connections and
correlations among data, which are less visible and less
direct in the textual format. Therefore, it stimulates new
research agendas. Topics regarding geographical
associations, such as trade, migration, transportation
networks, settlements, agriculture developments and so
forth, can benefit from this spatial analysis framework a
lot. For example, it is possible to conduct geo-sampling
exercises to examine agricultural production or to
construct multi-modal historical transport networks also
by vectorising road segments in addition to settlements
(Kabadayı et al., 2020, 2021).
While digital humanities promise to rejuvenate and
reshape historical studies, it also bears risks and limitations.
For some tasks, long-term and large-scale data often raise
concerns regarding varying recording formats, techniques,
inconsistency and accessibility. Those uncertainties should
be considered when the database is created to keep the
datas systematic characteristics and sustainability.
Besides, over-reliance on technical tools might result in the
simplification of complex events in human society. The
debate about the epistemological conflict between digital
methods and humanities is still going on. However, some
scholars have optimistically pointed out that digital
humanities have evolved to the qualitative wave from the
quantitative wave. “The second wave is qualitative,
interpretive, experiential, emotive, generative in character.
It harnesses digital toolkits in the service of the humanities
core methodological strengths: attention to complexity,
medium specificity, historical context, analytical depth,
critique and interpretation (Schnapp et al., 2009). The
employment of digital technologies with preserving the
essence of humanities research requires additional efforts
from historians in their writing of the past.
4. Conclusion
UrbanOccupationsOETR has constructed a detailed and
systematic geo-spatial dataset as part of the databases of
the project. It has digitised and visualised the geographical
and demographic information on Ottoman population
registers by georeferencing historical maps and
synthesising the registers demographic information with
retrospective data on the historical maps to create a
sizeable geo-spatial database of the Anatolian settlements
and populations in the 1830s and 1840s. The data models
consist of two types of data, spatial data and attribute data.
Attribute data are sorted in a table; with their more
quantitative feature, they usually answer what question,
while spatial data, representing the locations by geometric
features such as points, lines and polygons, usually
respond to where questions (Gregory & Geddes, 2014,
pp. xxi). In the dataset we built, every settlement, except
for those whose current location could not be found, is
geolocated with point features on the layer by referring to
historical maps, forming spatial data. Simultaneously,
every single settlement is recorded as an entry in the
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
7 of 8
attribute table with its information of name, administrative
division, coordinates, ethno-religious type of the
population and male population number, etc.
The dataset is modular, updatable, and compatible with
other datasets within the project to form a more
comprehensive database. Our project covers a more
extended period and more extensive geography than
outlined in this paper. In effect, in addition to mid-
nineteenth century Anatolia, the other phases of the project
have been collecting geographic, economic and
demographic data belonging to both Ottoman and post-
Ottoman Balkan societies in the rest of the nineteenth
century and the entire twentieth century. Thus, the geo-
spatial and demographic data that we have introduced in
this paper regarding Ottoman mid-nineteenth century
settlements will not only allow historians to develop multi-
dimensional perspectives to late Ottoman socio-economic
history. These datasets will also pave the way for
comprehensive analyses of the geo-spatial, demographic
and socio-economic characteristics of historical change in
the last two hundred years both in Anatolia and Southeast
Europe.
5. Acknowledgements
Our largest thanks go to Piet Gerrits, a member of
UrbanOccupationsOETR for constructing and maintaining
the geospatial database and the data entry tools. We also
thank all project members who contributed to planning and
execution of data entry. Lastly, we are grateful to Thomas
Knoll, the Head Archivist of the Cartography Department
/ Historical Map Archive of the Austrian Federal Office of
Metrology and Surveying, for his assistance in obtaining
the digital copies of the Deutsche Heereskarte, Turkey.
6. Funding
This work was supported by the European Research
Council (ERC) project: “Industrialisation and Urban
Growth from the mid-nineteenth century Ottoman Empire
to Contemporary Turkey in a Comparative Perspective,
1850–2000” under the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation program Grant Agreement No.
679097, acronym UrbanOccupationsOETR.
7. References
Gregory, I. N., & Ell, P. S. (2007a). GIS and Its Role in
Historical Research: An Introduction. In Historical GIS:
Technologies, Methodologies, and Scholarship.
Cambridge University Press.
Gregory, I. N., & Ell, P. S. (2007b). Using GIS to Visualise
Historical Data. In Historical GIS: Technologies,
Methodologies, and Scholarship. Cambridge University
Press.
Gregory, I. N., & Geddes, A. (2014). Introduction: From
Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: Deepening
Scholarship and Broadening Technology. In I. N.
Gregory & A. Geddes (Eds.), Toward Spatial Humanities:
Historical GIS and Spatial History. Indiana University
Press.
Index Anatolicus. (2021). https://nisanyanmap.com
Kabadayı, M. E., Gerrits, P., & Boykov, G. (2020).
Bridging the Gap between Pre-census and Census-era
Historical Data: Devising a Geo-sampling Model to
Analyse Agricultural Production in the Long Run for
Southeast Europe, 18401897. International Journal of
Humanities and Arts Computing, 14(12), 4663.
Kabadayı, M. E., Gerrits, P., Özkan, O., & Koçak, T.
(2021). A Preliminary Attempt to Construct a Geospatial,
Multimodal Ottoman Transport Network for 1899. In
Christopher. H. Roosevelt (Ed.), Spatial Webs: Mapping
Anatolian Pasts for Research and the Public. Koç
University Press.
Kasaba, R. (2009). A Moveable Empire: Ottoman Nomads,
Migrants, and Refugees (1st ed.). University of
Washington Press.
Kiepert - TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi. TDV İslam
Ansiklopedisi. Retrieved 3 April 2021, from
https://islamansiklopedisi.org.tr/kiepert
Ohanian, D., Başkurt, Z. M., & Kabadayı, M. E. (2020).
An Historical Geographic Information System for
Ottoman Studies: The c. 1907 Ottoman Census and
Armenian Settlement in Istanbul. Turcica, 51, 255283.
Özağaç, S. (2006). Cumhuriyet Dönemi Türk Haritacılık
Tarihi. Ankara University.
Scharfe, W. (2003). German Army Map of Spain 1:50.000:
1940-1944. In Proceedings of the 21st International
Cartographic Conference. Cartographic Renaissance,
247595. International Cartographic Association.
Schnapp, J., Presner, T., & Lunenfeld, P. (2009). The
Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0.
http://manifesto.humanities.ucla.edu/2009/05/29/the-
digital-humanities-manifesto-20/
Sefer, A., Yıldız, A., & Kabadayı, M. E. (2021). Labor
Migration from Kruševo: Mobility, Ottoman
Transformation, and the Balkan Highlands in the 19th
Century. International Journal of Middle East Studies,
53(1), 7387.
Shaw, S. J. (1978). The Ottoman Census System and
Population, 1831-1914. International Journal of Middle
East Studies, 9(3), 325338.
Singer, A. E. (2015, December 11). Designing the Digital
Ottoman Project: Six Hundred Years, Twenty-Five
Languages, and Eight Alphabets.
https://www.ias.edu/ideas/2015/singer-digital-ottoman
Talbert, R. J. A. (2019). Challenges of Mapping the
Classical World (epub version). Routledge.
Proceedings of the International Cartographic Association, 3, 2021.
8th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 21–23 April 2020, Istanbul, Turkey (rescheduled for
December 2021, Florence, Italy). This contribution underwent single-blind peer review based on submitted abstracts.
https://doi.org/10.5194/ica-proc-3-10-2021 | © Author(s) 2021. CC BY 4.0 License.
8 of 8
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
Although mountainous regions remained relatively isolated and almost untouched by the Ottoman rule, labor migration connected the inhabitants of these regions to the socioeconomic and political processes in the Ottoman Empire and beyond. Kruševo, a highland village located in present-day North Macedonia, provides an excellent case for understanding these connections. This paper presents systematic evidence from the Ottoman archives to document and analyze the social, economic, and demographic impacts of labor migration during this period. It provides an in-depth analysis of the Ottoman population and tax records of Kruševo in the 1840s, demonstrating the occupational profiles, migration patterns, and family and neighborhood networks of village residents during this period. Based on this analysis, it argues that labor migration was key to the transformation of social, economic, and demographic relations in rural communities and to the integration of even the most remote highland villages with the modernization processes that characterized the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.
Article
No problem has perplexed students of modern Ottoman history more than that of determining the state of the empire's population during its last century. Foreign travelers and diplomats and various nationalist leaders claimed that the Ottoman government had no census of its own. They made self-serving estimates of its population to support their own political or diplomatic ambitions, using at best methods such as multiplying by preset figures the number of males found in neighborhood coffeehouses or Sunday religious services, or simply accepting the estimates of local priests. In the face of this, the Ottomans did no more than publish their figures without providing supporting data or bothering to explain their census procedures. As a result, the Ottoman census system and its data were largely ignored in the outside world, and the rough and inaccurate estimates of foreigners were generally accepted in preference to the official figures.
German Army Map of Spain 1:50.000: 1940-1944
  • W Scharfe
Scharfe, W. (2003). German Army Map of Spain 1:50.000: 1940-1944. In Proceedings of the 21st International Cartographic Conference. Cartographic Renaissance, 2475-95. International Cartographic Association.
The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2
  • J Schnapp
  • T Presner
  • P Lunenfeld
Schnapp, J., Presner, T., & Lunenfeld, P. (2009). The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0. http://manifesto.humanities.ucla.edu/2009/05/29/thedigital-humanities-manifesto-20/