A few years ago I wrote about a must-bookmark resource from Stanford University for history teachers and students. That resource is called ORBIS and it has been updated since the last time that I wrote about it. ORBIS is Stanford University’s Geospatial Network Model of the Roman Empire.
On ORBIS students can calculate the distance and travel times between hundreds of settlements in the Roman Empire. The calculations happen according to the modes of travel that would have been used during the time of the Roman Empire’s greatest height. For example, I calculated the time and cost to travel by foot, wagon, and boat between Roma and Londonium in the summer and winter. The calculations include the cost of feeding donkeys along the way.
In this new video I provide an introduction to using ORBIS.
While you could certainly have students use Google Earth to map distances between settlements in the Roman Empire, ORBIS is a step above that because students can calculate travel times and distances according the modes of transportation that were available during the Roman Empire.