This article presents a new method for processing data gathered using the
“draw-a-map” task in perceptual dialectology (PD) studies. Such
tasks produce large numbers of maps containing many lines indicating
nonlinguists’ perceptions of the location and extent of dialect areas.
Although individual maps are interesting, and numerical data relating to the
relative prominence of dialect areas can be extracted, an important value of the
draw-a-map task is in aggregating data. This was always an aim of the
contemporary PD method, although the nature of the data has meant that this has
not always been possible. Here, we argue for the use of geographic information
systems (GIS) in order to aggregate, process, and display PD data. Using case
studies from the United Kingdom and Germany, we present examples of data
processed using GIS and illustrate the future possibilities for the use of GIS
in PD research.