Wikiprojekti:Historialliset kartat/In english

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The Historical Maps Project is a draft for a project, that aims to collect a prominent set of Finnish historical maps, georeference them via crowdsourcing and publish as open content. Crowdsourcing has proven to be an outstandingly effective way to georeference maps. In the British Library almost 800 maps were georeferenced in 4 days (British Library: Help us place our digitised maps).

An enormous number of maps are locked in archives. They have not been digitized, or they are behind cumbersome user interfaces or copyrights limit their use. In most cases the map is just an image and does not align with real world coordinates

Georeferencing is the process where old maps are aligned to map coordinates. With historical maps it can be a laborious job. In addition to giving coordinates to the map corners, possibly hundreds of additional reference points may be needed to align the hand-drawn, slightly improvised, worn and torn map. The civil servant does not have the time for this.

  • Undigitized maps We propose that the partners choose from their existing digitized maps or digitize new maps. One should try to find and pool best resources for this.
  • Open licenses The maps should be licensed with open licenses, preferably Creative Commons CC0, CC-BY or CC-BY-SA, or equivalent. Out-of-copyright maps will be defined as Public Domain.
  • Georeferencing demo We plan to organize a georeferencing event (a reference-a-thon!) to demonstrate the activity. Wikimedia Finland has put up a demo environment for this.
  • Access We propose to upload the maps in Wikimedia Commons, where they can be enjoyed by all.
  • Enriching The data produced in georeferencing will be fed back to the organization that possesses the map.
  • An on-going process Wikimedia is lacking a historical maps browsing, enriching and reusing environment. Wikimedia Finland is looking into putting together relevant resources in order to achieve such an environment in Wikimedia. We are researching the deployment of a spatio-temporal ontology as a component to the maps environment. We synchronize the development with ongoing projects, such as the Wikidata or the GLAM-Wiki toolset projects.
Proposal for the functionalities of the maps environment.
  • GLAM (memory organization) sends large numbers of maps to Wikimedia Commons and utilizes the GLAM-Wiki tool that is being developed.
  • In Wikimedia Commons maps are categorized and the map images are described.
  • In the proposed maps environment map images can be given their map coordinates. This is called for example georeferencing or rectifying.
  • In the maps environment maps could be annotated, in other words commented. Information about places can be attached or map images may be vectorized.
  • The annotations could reside in Wikidata.
  • Through a map service the annotated historical maps could be embedded in Wikipedia or elsewhere.
  • The enriched maps could be exported to the original GLAM among others. The tool for this might be the GLAM-Wiki toolset.
  • The maps environment could reside in the Commons. Such an environment has already been proposed by Multichill by the name Wikimaps

The story so far

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  • The project has been run in collaboration with the National Archives in Finland. Map curator Lesley Kadish from the Minnesota Historical Society is researching a suitable georeferencing environment that would suit the needs of Finnish GLAMs. Inspired by the project, Wikimedia Finland has started to contact projects within Wikimedia that could constitute the maps environment. Such projects include the Commons:GLAM-Wiki_toolset, Wikidata and Wikimedia Mobile. We have also been in contact with wikipedians running projects around geolocation, such as Kippelboy from Viquipèdia Catalonia (georeferencing in Catalonian GLAMs) and Barbara Fischer from Wikimedia Deutschland (Wikidata and archaeology)
  • Communities of interest around historical maps start forming. Interested wikipedians may sign up here. This group is within the Finnish Wikipedia, we will move to Commons once we think we are running a project.
  • April 13, 2013 Susanna Ånäs from Wikimedia Suomi introduces the initiative to the international Wikimedia GLAM community in GLAM-Wiki in London.
  • The National Archives will host a meeting of open cartography enthusiasts. The date is to be decided.


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