The MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine program, undertaken by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University and its partners, brings the latest innovations of information technology to studies of modern Ukrainian history and contemporary political geography. We conduct our own studies and encourage scholars and students within Harvard community and beyond to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for illustrating and explaining economic, historical, political, and social transformations within Ukraine using spatial and temporal analysis.

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The Great Famine project
focuses on the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33, also known as the Holodomor (“death by starvation”), and widely considered in Ukraine and beyond to be a genocide. The project is concerned with the geospatial analysis of Holodomor losses and the factors that may have influenced distribution outcomes. It uses the data provided by a group of Ukrainian and U.S. demographers.

lenin toppled
The Revolution of Dignity project aims to contribute to a reconceptualization of regionalism in Ukraine. Mapping data on the region (oblast) level avoids arbitrary scaling into predefined macro-regions, and allows researchers to explore and explain intraregional and cross-regional differences and similarities in the changing social and political context of 2013 and 2015 Ukraine. The History and Identity project contributes to the comparative cross-regional analysis of identities and historical memory in today’s Ukraine using the most recent sociological survey data.

The Independent Ukraine project, undertaken in cooperation with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, deals with popular attitudes towards Ukrainian sovereignty since 1991 as measured by support or opposition to unity with Russia. The annual survey data, supplied by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (Ukraine’s leading surveying and polling agency), maps the changing popular preferences in Ukraine’s twenty-six administrative units and reveals interesting dynamics before and after the turbulent events of the Euromaidan Revolution and the subsequent undeclared war with Russia. Ukraine’s regional cleavages have been at the forefront of academic debate and more recently public discourse as leading factors of national disunity and even causes of Crimea’s secession and annexation, and the current war in the Donbas region of the country. Contrary to these analyses, the maps show how Ukrainian civic nationhood has strengthened over the years and how any organic separatist pro-Russian movements had more popular support in mid to late 1990s than in 2013 or 2014.

family yaroslav the wise
The Rus’ Genealogy project is part of a larger attempt to shift the perceptions of modern scholars to include Rus’ in the wider narrative of medieval Europe, and create a picture of the medieval European world that fits the evidence from the primary sources - one that stretches from the Atlantic in the west to the Dnieper River in the East. One of the chief ways to do this is by looking at the connectivity between Rus’ and the rest of Europe - and one of the most interconnected places was in the arena of dynastic marriage. The ruling family of Rus’, the Volodimerovichi (also known as the Riurikids), had marital connections with the ruling families of most of medieval Europe. The project attempts to display these marriages on a map of medieval Europe, thereby visually, and dramatically, highlighting the way in which the Volodimerovichi of Rus’ intermarried throughout Europe. It is clear from just the first glance at this map that Rus’ was part of a medieval European system of dynastic marriage in which they participated fully. Beyond that first glimpse of interconnectivity, tools were also built into the map to allow for searches, chronological scalability and geographic scalability. These tools, and the map itself, should allow researchers on medieval European dynastic marriages the tools they need to demonstrate visually that Rus’ was part of medieval Europe.

Podillya Sutkictsi
The Historic Podillya in the late Middle Ages project presents the place names (settlements, castles, hydronyms) identified up to date in the territory of historical Podillya in the Late Middle Age.

If you are using GIS in your research on Ukraine and would like to become part of MAPA GIS Network, please register your project with us. This will help us link the community of GIS scholars working on Ukraine, share findings, and organize future workshops and conferences related to GIS research.

The MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine program is partially funded through support provided by the Eugene and Daymel Shklar Foundation and the Ukrainian Studies Fund, Inc.


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University of St.Gallen
Razumkov Centre
Institute of Memory of Ukraine
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