Grateful Dead Archive Online – Map

This is how my day went today:

  1.  A friend on Facebook (John Baumbach) posted a link to a page listing the 20 Essential Grateful Dead Shows. He mentioned how he had been to two of them.
  2. This got me thinking about one of my most memorable concerts. I did some searching, and found an archive page with a recording of the Bob Weir concert during my freshman year at Franklin Pierce College on March 4, 1978.
  3. Surprised to find this online, I thought: “Maybe there’s an archive of old Grateful Dead concerts, too”.
  4. A little more searching led me to the Grateful Dead Archive Online website.
  5. …where I then found this cool map, showing many or most of the venues and concerts the Dead played from 1965 to 1995. (I don’t think it’s possible to map them all, is it? I could be wrong.)
  6. I wound up listening to old Grateful Dead tunes the rest of the day.

Now I’ve never been much of a Dead Head. One of the reasons is, the college I attended during my undergrad years had a student body that was probably 75% Dead Head. I’ve got nothing against the Dead. I’ve actually grown to like their music more in recent years. The problem at that time was, most of the students at FPC were Dead fans because they liked the idea of being a Dead Head more than they really liked their music. Somehow, that just turned me off to the whole Grateful Dead scene.
I was talked into going to one Dead concert during my time at FPC, mainly because my friends needed a ride, I had a car with gas, and they offered to pay for my ticket. To the best of my recollection, this is the only Grateful Dead concert I ever attended.
I like this map for a few reasons.

  • It’s simple
  • It looks like it’s all done with JavaScript, jQuery, Google API. Again, simple
  • I like how the pop-ups work, leading to off-map webpages with more information (something I want to incorporate into another project I’m working on)
  • The content is mostly crowd-sourced. There are tons of fan-submitted recordings of the concerts, posters, pictures, and other paraphernalia.
  • Thanks to Michael Terner (@MT_AppGeo) for pointing me to this 2010 article in the Atlantic, describing how The Dead were early innovators in social networking and open-sourcing their music as a way to promote themselves.

Map of Grateful Dead Shows:

(Courtesy, Special Collections, University Library, University of California Santa Cruz. Grateful Dead Archive Online Collection.)

From the GDAO Help page: GDAO is built upon open-source software including the Omeka web-publishing platform, the SOLR search server, the Djatoka Java based image server, and the Seadragon image viewer.