historic shipping routes: a webmap

We all know: Black is beautiful. So is this map from Andrew Zolnai. But besides the stunning Stamen toner background map he also shows the significant amount of 260.000 points on one map: historic logbook entries of ships.

nations vs. time

shipping routes historic
Mapcentia map with historic ship routes

You can select nations and times and identify each point of this nice map and see the meta data of each logbook entry. So you can easily see the direct trading routes from and to the oversea areas and colonies of each country, you can imagine the triangular trade and you may also discuss the question who was the emperor of the seas 😉


As the frontend he uses the output of the theme wizard from  MapCentia. According to his blog-entry he hosts the data on an Amazon Web Service and it is all combined using the GeoCloud 2 stack from MapCentia. These services are not for free: If you quit the service, the map is gone…

detail view, historic shipping routes
detail view on historic shipping routes

individual historic shipping routes

Andrew also added two individual routes. First the trips from Captain James Cook are shown on the map. You can see clearly the first and second route but due to the fact that logbook entries are recorded there is a little gap in the data. The second route is from Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse who also started to do a round trip but who stopped his journey in Australia.

via slashgeo

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Andrew Zolnai
9 years ago

… thanks for this kind review, Riccardo! the point I made on argis.com is: “This dataset will show, for example, that Captain Cook’s logs miss his historical landing at Botany Bay in Eastern Australia, as well as his last voyage ending with his demise in Hawaii. Dennis Wheeler, adjunct at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich UK, revealed the following: even though the Royal Navy enforced strict guidelines to record weather and location, James Cook was notoriously lax in this; the CLIWOC team simply couldn’t transliterate some of his ships logs! This is not only a very early example of… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Zolnai

You’re welcome Andrew!