Digital Humanties Meet Up: Digitizing Historical Maps

This hands on session led by Rebecca Pittam, Academic Technology Specialist,  Nicholas Martin, Librarian for Archives and Special Collections, David Wrisley, Visiting Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and Matt Sumner, Data Services Librarian,  explored creating digital images of archival maps of different sizes and media for reuse in spatial humanities projects.

Nicholas Martin and David Wrisley selected several interesting maps that would be great both visually for digitizing and also for the geo-referencing session that would happen the following week with Matt. The choice of maps was explained by David and Nicholas who then explained the importance of the handling of material while Rebecca discussed the ways in which the maps would be photographed, talking a little about the technical aspects of photography, how to get the best use out of the camera by using a variety of settings, equipment and lights, and what factors should be considered when taking the photographs such as focus, reflections and image rotation. The smaller single maps or books containing maps were photographed use the Kaiser Copy Stand with lights and the larger maps were placed on a white sheet on the floor to project the map with an ad-hoc lighting and tripod setup in order to achieve the correct position directly above the map.

The camera was connected to a large screen so that everyone could see the image and the camera settings to best understand the process.

Below are some images of the class discussion and final images taken.