Abstract This progress article focuses on an overview of the potential and challenges of using contemporary Geographic Information System (GIS) applications for the visual rendering and analysis of textual spatial data. The case study is an ancient traveling narrative, Pausanias’s Description of Greece (Periegesis Hellados) which was written in the second century CE. First, we describe the process of converting the volumes to spatial data using a customized version of the open-source digital semantic annotation platform Recogito. Then the focus shifts to the implementation of collected and organized spatial data to a number of GIS applications: namely Google Maps, DARIAH Geo-Browser, Gephi, Palladio and ArcGIS. Through empirical experimentation with spatial data and their implementation in different platforms, our paper charts the ways in which contemporary GIS applications may be implemented to cast new light on ancient understandings of identity, space, and place.