Abstract: With the development of computers and digital technologies in the second half of the XX century, new tools, and methods for analyzes appear. Among them are Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which benefit various fields including History. The analytical part of the GIS differs from classical Cartography concentrated on presentation information, and while regular maps are still developed, the amount of spatial analyzes rises. The Historical GIS (HGIS) operates as an interdisciplinary subfield using the historical approach to data collection and reviewing and the geographical methods of data processing and visualization. GIS software is a powerful tool to build and analyze spatial databases, yet it has its limitations and requirements for data. The archival sources are in analog form, with different levels of accuracy, and often incomplete, which calls for additional effort in data processing and reviewing, and information cross-checking. Overcoming those challenges, the outcome of HGIS is significant and enforces historical research. The following paper describes the GIS as a tool in historical studies. It outlines the development of GIS and HGIS and their origins in spatial analyzes conducted manually, their key features, functions, requirements, and challenges. Later the paper presents the practical application of HGIS, on an example of the research project, that analyzes the morphological development of post-socialist cities. By summarizing the methodology used to build a GIS database points out the process of data collection, reviewing, and processing. It describes the main cartographic sources and their characteristics that outline the challenges in using HGIS.
Keywords: HGIS, cartographic sources, data processing, spatial analysis.