ChinaX map

The ChinaX map is a GIS resource provided through Harvard University as a supplementary instruction tool for their ChinaX course offered through

Harvard’s Public GIS resources

edX – online education resource


These resources can be indispensable when comparing and analyzing different geographic data. Utilizing the different layers and their visibility can sometimes reveal spatial correlations that are not immediately obvious when examining individual representations of the data.

Using the application, I followed the example, selecting some spatial layers that would be relevant in the Song Dynasty of period Chinese history.

song data

The layer CH_NSong_Exams applies to the map the known Imperial Examinations that took place during the Song period. These examinations were central to the bureaucracy and education of people seeking to enter or move upwards in the Imperial ranks. These examinations are indicative are where Song activity was high, giving us a perspective on density that a border might not show entirely.

The GrandCanalLayer is true to its name in that it overlays a line of where the Grand Canal was located. This canal was critical in the movement of goods and people from the north and the south of the imperial territory.

The Song_Xia and Jin layer shows the Song territory and the territory of their contemporary rivals, the Jin and the Xia.

The resulting map: