(European) Explorer(s)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander(s)
None or N/A
Local figures/events



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
European explorers
Business people
European monarchy
Religious figures/events


A web application to explore the commemorative practices of Townsville as seen through the naming of streets.


"It is the ostensible ordinariness of street names that allows them to effectively implicate politics and ideology into the practices of everyday life and ordinary urban experiences" — Maoz Azaryahu (2009, p. 56).

This project was born out of a preoccupation with everyday commemorative practices and a concern for the ways in which we all too often fail to recognize how space makes particular types of history appear normal. Building on prior theoretical scholarship (Smith, 2017a, 2017b, 2018), this web application is designed to begin documenting the history and politics of place as it works through and is made normal via the naming of streets in Townsville, Queensland (Australia).


Icon Description
This opens up the "touring" function that allows you to pan over the map as if from a birds eye view.
This toggles the map layers between the default dark style and the satellite view.
This opens up this dialog.

Source Code

The source code, available under the MIT License (the application itself, the data is licensed differently which is described below), can be found here. Please note that the code is in "rough shape" right now but is being cleaned up and commented.


OpenStreetMap (source)
Map data for the GeoJSON data (ie. the lines over the streets). This data is available under the Open Database License (see here).
Tango Desktop Project (source)
The app's icon is a combination of two Tango icons. Tango icons are public domain.


Azaryahu, M. (2009). Naming the Past: The Significance of Commemorative Street Names. In L. D. Berg & J. Vuolteenaho (Eds.), Critical Toponymies: The Contested Politics of Naming (pp. 53-70). Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Smith, B. (2017a). Cartographies of Colonial Commemoration: Critical Toponymy and Historical Geographies in Toronto. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 15(2), 34–47.

Smith, B. (2017b). Reconsidering the Summer Residence: The City-Text, Historical Commemoration and Banal Settler Geography. Canadian Social Studies, 49(1), 24–29.

Smith, B. (2018). Engaging Geography at Every Street Corner: Using Place-Names as Critical Heuristic in Social Studies. The Social Studies, 109(2), 112–124.



I see this is your first time here so welcome to Topomapper! Let's go over some of the basics on how to use Topomapper before you jump in.

Getting Started

Topomapper is quite simple - just click the name of the street that you're interested in and you'll be presented with some information about who/what the street is named for. If you'd like to zoom in on a specific area, hold down shift and draw a box on the screen (devices with mice only).


If the street is white coloured, information about it is available. Conversely, if the street is black, no information is available.


The table below gives you a sense of the interface elements and what they offer you.
Element Description
This will centre the map on your location.
This is where you can zoom in and out. You can also rotate the map (if you hold down control by dragging on the map, you can rotate on all axes) and the bottom button will bring you back to the default view.
This is where you can search for streets around town.
This opens up the "touring" function that allows you to pan over the map as if from a birds eye view.
This toggles the map layers between the default "blueprint" style and the satellite view.
This opens up the info/help dialog. Click on this if you need a refresher.