LL-MAP is a project designed to integrate language information with data from the physical and social sciences by means of a Geographical Information System (GIS). The most important part of the project will be a language subsystem, which will relate geographical information on the area in which a language is or has been spoken to data on resources relevant to the language. Through a link to the Multi-Tree project, information on all proposed genetic relationships of the languages will also be made available and viewable in a geographic context. Ultimately, the system will include ancillary information on topography, political boundaries, demographics, climate, vegetation, and wildlife, thus providing a basis upon which to build hypotheses about language movement across territory. Some cultural information, e.g., on religion, ethnicity, and economics, will also be included.
The LL-MAP system will encourage collaboration between linguists, historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, and geneticists, as they explore the relationship between language and cultural adaptation and change. We hope it will elicit new insights and hypotheses, and that it will also serve as an educational resource. As a GIS, LL-MAP has the potential to be a captivating instructional tool, presenting complex data in a way accessible to all educational levels. Finally, as a free service available online, LL-MAP should increase public knowledge of lesser-known languages and cultures, underlining the importance of language and linguistic diversity to cultural understanding and scientific inquiry.I haven’t really had a chance to explore it yet, but I figure it’s worth putting out there.