Map Archive Mining: Visual-analytical Approaches to Explore Large Historical Map Collections Journal Article uri icon



  • Historical maps constitute unique sources of retrospective geographic information. Recently, several map archives containing map series covering large spatial and temporal extents have been systematically scanned and made available to the public. The geographic information contained in such data archives allows extending geospatial analysis retrospectively beyond the era of digital cartography. However, given the large data volumes of such archives and the low graphical quality of older map sheets, the processes to extract geographic information need to be automated to the highest degree possible. In order to understand the salient characteristics, data quality variation, and potential challenges in large-scale information extraction tasks, preparatory analytical steps are required to efficiently assess spatio-temporal coverage, approximate map content, and spatial accuracy of such georeferenced map archives across different cartographic scales. Such preparatory steps are often neglected or ignored in the map processing literature but represent highly critical phases that lay the foundation for any subsequent computational analysis and recognition. In this contribution we demonstrate how such preparatory analyses can be conducted using classical analytical and cartographic techniques as well as visual-analytical data mining tools originating from machine learning and data science, exemplified for the United States Geological Survey topographic map and Sanborn fire insurance map archives.

publication date

  • March 2, 2018

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • February 6, 2021 11:08 AM

Full Author List

  • Uhl JH; Leyk S; Chiang Y-Y; Duan W; Knoblock CA

author count

  • 5

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