About Us

The Map Archive can trace its roots back to the 1970s, when our founder, Malcolm Swanston, a history buff with a passion for drawing maps that dates back to his childhood, began to develop a range of innovative thematic maps that told complex historical stories graphically. Over the next 50 years he worked for countless book publishers, conceptualizing and providing maps for a range of titles that covered subjects as diverse as Ancient Rome, the Crusades, the Vietnam War, World War II and World Religions. In time he was joined by his cartographer son, Alex Swanston, and together they created a huge archive of historical maps.

With the coming of the digital age, they realized that their maps would be an excellent online resource, ideal for researchers, teachers, students and armchair historians, and the Map Archive was born. Liz Wyse, our Editorial Director, first met Malcolm at Times Books, when they worked together on the Past Worlds: the Times Atlas of Archaeology, and they went on to create many historical atlases together. She joined the Map Archive team to look after the written content on the site. We are a close-knit team and have worked hard to develop our amazing map resource together. We enjoy discussing world history and are always open to suggestions about new maps and topics. We hope that we will continue to work closely with our many users and supporters to improve and expand our collection.

Our Directors


Malcolm Swanston, FRGS, Content Director

Malcolm has been involved in creating thematic history maps for some 55 years, which has involved working with some of the most eminent historians, writers and institutions around the world. He is confident that, with the ever advancing internet, we have reached the ideal moment to bring together his unique lifetime’s archive of accumulated cartography, together with a toolbox of chronological and spatial data, which will give millions of users insight into humanity’s long story.


Alex Swanston, Art Director

Alex is a cartographer and author. He has worked in the publishing trade for well over a decade and has written three books, mainly about the Second World War, as well as creating thousands of maps and illustrations which have been included in over 100 titles.

In 2019 he co-authored How to Draw a Map (HarperCollins) with his father, Malcolm.


Liz Wyse, Editorial Director

Liz has worked in publishing for over 30 years as an editor, writer and project manager, specialising in illustrated reference books for a range of editorial clients, including Times Books, Dorling Kindersley, Henry Holt, Viking Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, Cambridge University Press, Macmillan, Oxford University Press and Harvard University Press.

Our Publishing History

Publishers and organizations we have worked with over the last 50 years include:

Times Books • Houghton-Mifflin • Henry Holt • Prentice-Hall • Harvard University Press • Penguin Books • Viking • Macmillan US • Oxford University Press, US and UK •Thames and Hudson • Hachette • Flamarrion • Autremont • Simon and Schuster, •Fodor • Francis and Taylor • Cambridge University Press • Facts-on-File • The British Geological Survey • British Petroleum • Pen and Sword • Chartwell Press US