This project supports an interactive, web-based platform of the city of Paris by using a hypermedia environment with the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in order to explore and study the historical layers of Paris and foster critical thinking skills through the combination of time and space. This platform allows users to navigate through and collaborate on the cultural, urban, architectural and social history of Paris, as the Capital of Lights is a perfect example of a complex and multilayered city.

The platform layers georeferenced historical maps of Paris above a Google Maps satellite view of the city. Users can bring individual maps in and out of focus or superimpose multiple maps to observe the changes to the city over many centuries. One can then tag a location with text, image, or sound. Visentin has used the platform in her classes for three years now, and is working to expand it to other professors across the Five Colleges.

More information on how the project began can be found at


Project Members:

Hélène Visentin
Smith College, French Studies

Joanne Cannon
Smith College, Educational Technology Services

Paul Chapin
Amherst College, Academic Technology Services