Historical maps are one of the most valuable sources of the documents. It is very difficult to handle them due to the large size or consisting of many sections. For their digitization a special large format scanner with maximum width of 110 cm is required, which has a very gentle roller system and all lighting requirements that meet the needs of the file protection. Result of scanning is a 300 DPI resolution and uncompressed TIFF file. During processing and publishing we use a special format (JPEG2000, ECW) that is specifically optimized for maps and provides fast rendering on the Internet. Arcanum is specialized for digitizing not digitally created old materials from the 17-18-19th centuries.

The first and necessary step at handling these old-time historical maps is the so called geo-referencing. We determine the GPS coordinates for each pixel of the image, i.e. its position on Earth. To do this, we need to know the methods of creating, the projections used and the projection parameters of the original map. This requires deep research work and great practice in case of historical maps. Serious manual work is required after the theoretical setup to perform the operation. When geo-referencing has been performed, we have the opportunity to display old maps together with today’s maps to a single system to compare them or to put them together. The accuracy of the historical maps depends on the scale on the creation method of the original map. In case of 1:2.880 scale cadastral maps from around 1850 the accuracy can reach up to 15 to 20 meters. During geo-referencing maps of up to thousands of sections can be organized into a single image.

The own developed map display system perfectly shows the historical and contemporary maps projected, synchronized to each other or side by side. By adjusting the transparency the maps can be displayed in transition to each other, the areas or distance will be measureable. We are able to publish historical maps in 3 dimensions, it is just like flying over old maps. We handle vectors at high speed, such as the village and county boundaries. Using historic maps as a base map, we can publish data files of up to a million (e.g. postcards, documents and numeric data by villages).

The system is extremely fast. With the appropriate background infrastructure it is also capable for serving thousands of users at the same time.

We use map scanners for large-scale, high-quality digitization of large maps, blueprints and posters. Thanks to their unique picture quality, very small texts are also sharply displayed. With a gentle, precision roller mechanism, even thinnest documents are scanned without damage. The scanning and lightning technology of map scanners is designed to ensure that these old documents are not subjected to any harmful effects. The illumination is extremely short, thanks to the fast imaging sensors.

The most important application of this technology is called MAPIRE (http://mapire.eu). It collects the detailed maps with many sections of the Habsburg Empire from the 18-19th centuries (1, 2, 3. Military surveys, cadastral maps) with a number of other city maps (Moscow, London, Vienna, Paris, etc.) and historical maps of some European countries (Italy, France).

Source: Arcanum