We’ve talked for years about wanting to build a dynamic, omnibus historical timeline, with just about every kind of event mapped onto it — nation-states, dynasties, empires, global events, wars, advances, discoveries, etc. — so that when someone says something about, say, the Hundred Years War, you could consult the timeline and see the historical context. Oh, and, by the way, what was happening in China then? The way we’ve been kicking it around, it’d be a database-driven tool that would allow filtration by geography, subject, etc., for dynamic views of history at a glance.
We didn’t figure we were inventing the idea of an omnibus timeline, and we were right: Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools weblog points out Rand McNally’s Histomap of World History (crappy name, neat idea). It’s a 4-foot-high chart showing much of what we’re talking about, though of course in dead-tree form it’s not possible to filter; you’re stuck with the view they give you. Still, it seems awful darn cool, and we’d love to put one on our office wall. At ten bucks, why not?
(Oh, by the way: we’re pretty sure this is the 4,000th installment of Heathen. Yay!)