An innovative, powerful, and exciting digital tool — The Essex LifeMap — is now available on the Earl of Essex website. The LifeMap has been developed in conjunction with Jeff Knudson of W&L’s Instructional Technology group; it combines the best features of both a GIS mapping tool and a digital timeline — linking data points in those two formats and permitting users to take a virtual tour through both space and time.
The Essex LifeMap traces Robert Devereux’s life — following the key events and whereabouts of the Earl. Although much of the action takes place at Court or in London, Essex also traveled extensively throughout England and Wales — and abroad to the Low Countries, France, Portugal, Spain and Ireland during his military career.
Each entry is accompanied by a short (and occasionally more detailed) text, an appropriate image, and often links to other webpages for additional information. Taken in sequence together, the LifeMap entries represent a concise but complete biography of Essex. The LifeMap permits you to “play” his lifetime automatically and “pause” as you read more, or to jump to any one moment by clicking either on a pin on the map or a point on the corresponding timeline. Additional user controls allow you to customize the site for an optimal viewing experience.
As you will see, this new timeline-map tool has unlimited potential for the digital humanities — as a powerful way to display temporal and geographical information in fields such as history, literary studies, cultural and art history, journalism, etc. W&L is hardly alone: other timeline-map software packages are being developed commercially and by educational institutions. However, the Essex LifeMap represents the current cutting-edge of this rich nexus of humanties and technology. My thanks to Jeff Knudson for his creativity, responsiveness, and patience.