The importance of space and time to research within and across a wide range of disciplines has long been recognised. Continuing this tradition, in its call for visionary white papers NSF states, �The landscape is vast and complex, stretching across temporal and spatial dimensions and multiple levels of analysis& in a dynamic and fragmented yet interconnected world.� Historical Geographical Information Systems (HGIS) has the potential to create truly interdisciplinary understanding of spatio-temporal processes and the connections and disruptions between them across multiple scales. As a method, HGIS is proving increasingly effective in exploiting space and time, place and period, drawing upon a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative sources. HGIS has gained practitioners in many disciplines, including geography, political science, history, economics, sociology and environmental history. In these fields and others, it is generating cross-disciplinary research. Funding research and increasing capacity in this field will result in a step-change in our understanding not just of the past but of how societies and economies have developed to reach their current situation.