D-PLACE is an interactive database which contains cultural, linguistic, environmental and geographic information for over 1400 human cultural groups.  All cultural descriptions are tagged with the date to which they refer, a geographic location (using a reported latitude and longitude) and language. This allows users to simultaneously consider how cultural practices relate to linguistic ancestry, practices of neighbouring groups, and the environment. Search results can be downloaded as tables, maps, and tree diagrams, allowing visitors to visualise the relationships between language, place and culture. The database builds primarly on two historical sources with research collected by ethnogoraphers from the early 19th to mid 20th (pre-1950s) centuries. For more details on the sources of cultural, linguistic and environmental data, visit the D-Place Data Sources page. 

D-PLACE is a collaborative project, lead by Kathryn Kirby, a University of Toronto post-doctoral fellow with the departments of ecology and evolutionary biology and geography. The project includes a research publication in the July 2016 issue of PlosOne.

Alternative title
Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment
Date of creation
Statistics type
Geographic coverage


Funding agency
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Kirby, K.R., Gray, R. D., Greenhill, S. J., Jordan, F. M., Gomes-Ng, S., Bibiko, H-J, et al. (2016). D-PLACE: A Global Database of Cultural, Linguistic and Environmental Diversity. PLoS ONE, 11(7): e0158391. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158391.

Access conditions and restrictions

open-access via Creative Commons License