The GBHGIS team have just returned from a productive trip to Japan. We were very pleased to be invited to visit Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto to give a intensive short course on Historical GIS to the postgraduate students there. The course material gave both a theoretical and a practical introduction on how to use Geographical Information Systems for historical research. The students learnt about and successfully utilized a variety of open-source geo-spatial software components culminating in the creation of their own mini historical GIS projects based on Japanese data.
We were also each invited to give a guest lecture at the Human Geographical Society of Japan Annual Meeting at Nara University. Humphrey spoke about using British Census statistics to study long running trends for individual localities and Paula spoke about her PhD research on the spatial distribution of historical tax assessments. Professor Keiji Yano (Ritsumeikan University) then presented some observations on the development of historical GIS and the resources available for it in the United Kingdom. This led into a discussion on how the Society could best move forward towards creating a similar network of resources for Japanese scholars to use in their own historical GIS projects.