Kelly O'Neill is a historian of Russia and an advocate of spatial history. She created and directs The Imperiia Project at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. 

Her project is a long-term, collaborative attempt to explain why “where” matters. Behind that question lurks the conviction that thinking spatially prompts us to ask new questions, work in new ways, produce new knowledge, communicate that knowledge through new media, and build new communities. As a result, Kelly's work attempts to move from locating things, places, and people, to understanding how location shaped the lives of individuals, societies, and states. 

Together with her team, she is applying the methods of geographic information science to the past, and building a platform for creating what she likes to call “map stories.”