Home Articles Map Preservation

Map Preservation

With the beginning of a new century, we have developed software able to prepare maps at the click of a button and requiring minimum information. But at the age when man was trying to lay the seeds of ‘geography’, several maps were prepared. The information provided by these maps may now be considered obsolete, but these maps are still considered invaluable mainly because of their historic importance. The maps, prepared on paper, being acidic in nature, tended to deteriorate with time. Thus today what we are left with are tattered pieces of paper maps with vital information inscribed on them. These maps have to be stored for archives and once they are stored, they become inaccessible for general use. This handicap was overcome with the development of film-based preservation techniques. One such technique currently in use is the Scan Vintage™ Regenerative Analog/Digital Scanning. It is a revolutionary technology where the photographic techniques are combined with advanced digital scanning techniques. In this technology, the original map is processed through the Harvester™ (flow camera) that creates the film.

This film is developed into a negative. The negative contains the original map reduced to 4 to 4.5 times. However, unlike the photocopying machine, the reduction is uniform and thus there are not possibilities of any distortion of the map in the negative. Also, this reduced-sized negative is better than the original map because the Harvester™ creates an enhanced image using optical properties. The estimated time of completion of the negative production is 30-45 seconds. In order to make a digital copy of the map, the negative is scanned, using a Bitmapper™ scanner or any desktop scanner. In order to clean up the image, the image is loaded in an image processing software that can also vectorise the raster image of the map. As a result of this operation, we do not require the original map for further processing and so the map can be preserved using modern preservation techniques. Further, we can use the image of the map for any kind of processing work. This image is easily accessible and any one can use the image of the map as per requirement. In case the images of the map are destroyed, we will still not require the original map as the negative of the map can again be used to make a digital copy of the image. As a result of this process, the negative of the map serves as the hard copy of the map and not the original map, thereby preventing the original map from further deterioration.