Over the last decades, the use of geomatic software for the digitalisation, management and analysis of geohistorical sources has been at the centre of a rich epistemological and methodological debate. Scholarship has widely demonstrated the potential of GIS tools for reaching new frontiers in dealing with spatio-temporal data. At the same time, the software constitutes a useful instrument for sharing data with public decision makers, professionals and politicians engaged in sustainable territorial governance. For some time, however, the international debate has been moving away from heuristic approaches based on the elaboration of geohistorical sources (an operation that is defined as Historical GIS) towards more comprehensive and general applications of Geographic Information Systems. The latter have thus been used in Spatial Humanities and applied to the so-called “cultural turn”. The paper aims to encourage epistemological thinking on this topic, by addressing some case studies and experiences of applied research on historical borders, watercourses and land use in different Italian contexts. In conclusion, it intends to identify and bring to the attention of the scientific community the existence of some problems related to both taxonomy and terminology in the definition of certain fields of research within Spatial Humanities. The suggestion and the hope that the work wants to convey are that Historical GIS continue to be an important heuristic tool, whose specific features can easily be identified within the broader field of Digital Humanities.
Keywords: Epistemology of Historical Geography|Historical GIS| Digital Humanities|Digital Methodologies Terminology-Related Issues