Inspiration

It's said that familiarity breeds contempt - but unfamiliarity does too. Too often we view past civilizations or cultures though a lens of exoticism at best, and superiority or condemnation at worst. We believe it's important to study these cultures with an intent to learn, analyze, and understand, and not to judge.

Ancient civilizations are among the furthest removed cultures from our own, and the distance of time means that much information about them has not reached us today. This makes ancient civilizations a particularly interesting and challenging topic for us. In this project, our aim was to learn about these unfamiliar cultures and to present our findings in a fair and interesting way. After all, these civilizations are the foundations upon which our present societies are built!

What it does

This is an interactive map that illustrates the location of early civilizations on the world map. The different regions are highlighted in purple for perspective on the size and influence of each ancient civilization. When the icons are clicked a tab will pop up with a slideshow of pictures and information on that specific civilization. Links are provided for the user to do further research.

How we built it

The website consists of html files hosted using GitHub Pages. The interactive map is generated through the Google Maps JavaScript API. We used Google My Maps to create outlines of the regions spanned by the ancient civilizations, then extracted the KML file data and parsed it with Excel to overlay onto our map. The individual markers were customized into JavaScript objects. The information on the civilizations was researched over the course of the weekend by our team members.

Challenges we ran into

This was our first time working with the Google Maps API so it was difficult to get get past the steep learning curve. We tried to get the Google Maps API to display data from a KML file that we generated, but we ran into challenges with using locally saved KML files. After some struggles and lack of success, we decided to create our own KML files and parse the coordinate data of the KML file directly to the script.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Learning JavaScript Solving issues involving reading KML files Solving merge conflicts Learning how to use BootStrap

What we learned

How to use the Google Maps API How to use JavaScript What a KML file is and how to create one and use it How to use GitHub How to use Bootstrap

What's next for Ancient Civilization Explorer

The civilizations that we featured spanned enormously long and disparate eras. We hope to add an interactive timeline that can show how the civilizations evolved over time.

After a weekend of research, we've barely broached the surface of these civilizations! Each civilization includes many cultures, and each culture has its own art, literature, architecture, languages, and religions... We're happy with the start we made during this project, but there's still so much more learning to add to our Explorer.

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