Our worlds are verbal, our worlds are visual.

For us at the Colorado Institute of Historical Geography it's difficult to imagine understanding our world without knowing the places, and the Sense of Place, of the people of history.


Through the millennia maps have been created and used for local use, for navigation and way-finding, and for planning and record keeping. The historical record finds maps as old as 10,000 years old, in places obvious and mysterious. Pacific Islanders found ways of identifying and locating their worlds across vast oceans without visible markers. Peoples without written languages marked places with scratches on the walls of caves. Long before the means for distant travel existed, geographers and mathematicians calculated and visualized a spherical planet earth.

The human history of cartographies is becoming increasingly accessible with the coming of digital and communication technologies. With each passing day comes news of another set of archival materials that are being shared via the internet. Beyond shedding light on how our ancestors viewed and navigated their worlds, exploring these cartographies with the larger perspectives allowed by the passage of time allows new understandings of our past. With richer and more complex contexts we come to profound new insights about the human condition.


By these lights, the Colorado Institute of Historical Geography uses Cartography as a core element in its research strategies.


At the same time we recognize the potential of visual information to convey knowledge that captures the synergy of details not possible with the linear format of the verbal world. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Aristotle said. "The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book," Ivan Turgenev suggested.



In the Western canon, history has come to be understood as primarily a function of what is written. As indispensable as that record is, it is incomplete and ineffective as a means of communicating complex information. COIHG offers a complement to the written chronicle by exploring the power of Graphic Arts and visual imagery to shed light on historical people and events. We use the Arts as well in sharing the results of our work, recognizing the increasingly visual world we live in today.



The Mission

of the

Colorado Institute


Historical Geography


To encourage the continued growth of the community and all its members


by emphasizing our common interests


through nurturing a sense of time and a sense of place.

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Fort Collins CO 80522 USA

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