The great library at Ephesus, Turkey.

World History

We are developing a world history model that lets you go any place on any date and explore down to the street-level of history -- then edit it. This model will have not just nations and cities like a traditional static historical atlas, but also ships, armies, buildings, and people. Towns grow, buildings are constructed, ships explore new seas, and armies battle. Harbors silt in, rivers change course, and cities are sacked and burned. People are born, get married, and have families; some are even crowned kings, queens, and emperors. Running Reality is this model.

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Map + Timeline

Running Reality can render any day of any year as either a web map or as an app for desktop and laptop computers. The world history model lets you click on any building, place, or thing, study related events, and how it connected to other objects. The model is built from a dynamic database of historical data that the app can manipulate and edit. As more data is entered into the model, Running Reality steadily improves the fidelity of how it renders history. Our goal is to slowly work our way down to street level to the best of our current records and knowledge of history.

A Research Project

The Vision

We wanted to build a world history model that lets you go anywhere on any date and explore right down to the street-level of history. And then edit it.

The Origin

The project was started by Garth Henning to do long-term strategic planning for space exploration. These days, the history part of the project makes more headway than the space part.

The Name

The project's name comes not from the ability to just browse history, but from the ability to tinker with it. Hence the ability to "run" a model of "reality" and why we call our project a "world history model"

We at Running Reality believe that we can do a better job of bringing history to life using all the power of today's computers. Running Reality is an expansive research project to model the evolution of human civilization from around the world. Using our free tools, you can easily browse historical events as an online animated historical atlas. We would also welcome you to join the team and dive in deeper, contributing new data or models to the project. Running Reality makes what it does look easy, but underneath the hood it is a powerful, innovative, and challenging history engine.


Feel free to contact us about any topic, especially if you need clarification of this documentation. We welcome all discussions.