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mapKurator will scan text in 60 000 georeferenced Rumsey maps. The data generated will make the Rumsey Map Collection the first large digitized map collection in the world to be fully searchable via text.
Machines Reading Maps (MRM) is delighted to announce a new 1-year collaboration with the David Rumsey Map Collection. Thanks to a generous donation from David Rumsey himself, the MRM teams (including researchers at The Alan Turing Institute, the University of Minnesota, and the Austrian Institute of Technology) will be able to test and expand its tools and methods working large and diverse collection of 60 000 digitised historical maps.
This research will make the Rumsey Map Collection the first large digitised map collection in the world to be fully searchable via text. For all the place names, we will also infer the semantic types and the links to external knowledge bases like Wikidata. This will make countless features that did not previously appear in the map’s metadata, finally visible and discoverable. At the same time, the enrichment of the maps will enable, for the first time, complex searches across different map series, like finding saloons in nineteenth-century California or all the businesses found within two miles of British railway stations.
Building on top of the ongoing work on collections held at the National Library of Scotland, British Library and Library of Congress, and supported by AHRC and NEH funding, this new collaboration will enable MRM to process a large corpus of georeferenced maps (around 60 000 documents) in the David Rumsey collection with the computer-vision-based machine learning model mapKurator. mapKurator detects and recognises the text on maps, in a wide variety of scripts and styles, and then links those labels (including only partially recognised ones) to external knowledge bases like OpenStreetMap or WikiData.
The first outcomes will be fine tuned through two processes: one computational and one manual. The first one involves the training of artificial intelligence models using real maps from the Rumsey collection and synthetic ones developed by the project team. For the second, the project will extend LUNA, the Rumsey Collection's online map viewer, with annotation functionality. Building on a bespoke annotation system developed in MRM, the new annotation interface will make it possible for the public to help validate and improve the annotations produced automatically via mapKurator.
This collaboration with the Rumsey Collection will sharpen MRM tools, making them more flexible in new contexts. In particular, it allows the researchers to explore solutions for dealing with the challenging scale and variety of this unique collection, which features dozens of different languages and cartographic traditions. The MRM and David Rumsey Map Collection teams also look forward to collaborating with a large and diverse community of users, and to making them co-authors of the maps' enrichment.
This operation will generate an unprecedented amount of free and reusable data, of great historical, geographical, scientific, and anthropological value, as well as precious metadata that will improve the accessibility of the collection, and active engagement with map enthusiasts.
At the end of this collaboration, we will showcase the data and the new functionalities implemented, and discuss next steps in a public event hosted at the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Libraries. Source: David Rumsey Map Collection

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Contents

  • Looks at Books
    • La Desenhando a Porta do Pacífico [Drawing the Gateway to the Pacific]
    • De geschiedenis van België in 100 oude kaarten – L’histoire de la Belgique en 100 cartes anciennes. [The history of Belgium in 100 old maps]
  • Exhibitions
    • La cartographia italiana in età Napoleonica (1796-1815) [Italian Cartography in the Napoleonic Age. Maps, atlases and manuals for drawing the Territory]
  • History and Cartography
    • Townplan of Brussels from 1649 by Joan Blaeu and the Bombardement of the city in 1695
    • Rare early map of the Caribbean stolen in Spain!
  • The Brussels Map Circle
    • 2021 Annual General Meeting
    • 38th IMCoS Symposium

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In January 2022, the Board of directors of Imago Mundi Ltd has elected a new president in succession of Tony Campbell: Wouter Bracke, President of our Circle.
Imago Mundi, Ltd. is a not-for-profit charity.
Imago Mundi produces the bi-annual Imago Mundi: the International Journal for the History of Cartography, published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
It is also responsible for coordinating the biennial series of International Conferences in the History of Cartography, founded in 1964, and it produces periodic editions of a Who's Who in the History of Cartography.
In general, its aim is to promote, foster and encourage the study of cartography in all its branches.
It has a website at the address https://www.maphistory.info/imago.html.
The company is registered in the UK under the company number 00693460.
For more information on Imago Mundi see the Taylor & Francis website or the JSTOR digital library website or the UK Register of charities website.
Congratulations, Wouter, for this very prestigious (and challenging!) nomination.

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One of the most distinguished cartographic journals in Europe appeared in its last and final issue, Vol. 63, in December 2021. It started 32 years ago as a German-language medium for the dissemination of contributions to the History of Cartography for researchers, map collectors and dealers.
Hans-Uli Feldmann, a cartographer by profession, curated these 63 Volumes plus 24 special editions, with unfailing dedication and authority over those many years. It ceased publication because the framework for the accomplishment of its editorial mission has undergone substantial change with time.
A full report and appreciation will appear in Maps in History No 73, May 2022.
For those interested, a superbly organized publication index is at https://www.kartengeschichte.ch/, with a summary of each article in English and in French.
(By Wulf Bodenstein)

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After the success of the GB1900 project, capturing place names and written content from the Ordnance Survey’s 6-inch to the mile maps from 1888-1913, The National Library of Scotland is planning three new collaborative transcription projects in 2022 for people to participate in data gathering:
  • Ordnance Survey Edinburgh 25-inch Transcription Project;
  • Scotways Historic Footpaths Project;
  • Roy Military Survey of Scotland Placenames Project.
Read more.

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On Monday 13 December 2021, the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography has organised a workshop, preceding the International Cartographic Conference in Florence. The workshop featured six papers which were originally intended to be part of the postponed 2020 Symposium in Istanbul on Mapping the Ottoman Realm: Travelers, Cartographers and Archaeologists.
The full programme and abstracts are here: https://www.icc2021.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/PreConf_HistoryOfCartographyagg.pdf.
Among these, we find a communication from Wouter Bracke, President of the Brussels Map Circle, entitled From the Atlas de l’Europe by Philippe Vandermaelen (1828–1833) to the Weiss Map by Thomas Best Jervis (1854). The Role of the Établissement géographique de Bruxelles in the Map Production of European Turkey. The full text is available here.

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Private collectors John Steegh and Harrie Teunissen from Dordrecht have donated their entire collection of maps, city plans and atlases to Leiden University Libraries (UBL). In almost 40 years they brought together circa 17 000 map sheets and 2 300 atlases and travel guides. Especially the thematic maps from the 19th and 20th centuries can be considered as an important addition to the map collections of UBL. Although Steegh and Teunissen don’t live in Leiden anymore, they still feel strongly connected to the city and its university.
Harrie Teunissen, one of the donors, is Member of the Brussels Map Circle. Martijn Storms, curator Maps & Atlases at the Leiden University Libraries, is also Member of the Circle.
Source: Universiteit Leiden

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This book, published in both French and Dutch, visualises the history of Belgium with the help of one hundred remarkable old maps. From Ortelius' map of the Netherlands in Roman times to the official map of the linguistic borders of 1964, they all shed unique light on the past. They reveal the changes that have taken place over the centuries and the elements that have escaped the influence of time.
Among the authors, we find Philippe De Maeyer, Michèle Galand, Bram Vannieuwenhuyze, Guy Vanthemsche, Karen De Coene, Marguerite Sylvestre, Peter Van der Krogt some of them are Members of the Brussels Map Circle.
407 pages, 350 ⨯ 290 mm, published on 2 November 2021, EAN 9782390251736 (fr), 9789401476126 (nl), Publishers: Racine (fr), Lannoo (nl)
The links below offer the possibility to leaf through several pages of the book:

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The History of Cartography series brings together cutting-edge research and a colourful collection of stories and histories told through maps. As a research, editorial and publishing venture, the project is drawing international attention to the history of maps and mapping. It treats all maps — from prehistory through the twentieth century — as cultural, technical and intellectual artifacts.
The final volume — Volume 5, Cartography in the Nineteenth Century — will soon be completed thanks to USD 350 000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded to the project.
The project, published by The University of Chicago Press, comprises an interpretive encyclopedia of 409 entries written by 193 contributors. Volumes 1 through 4, as well as 6, have been completed and now the project team is focused on the final tome. The full series will eventually be made available in both print and digital forms.
Source: https://news.wisc.edu/40-year-map-project-history-of-cartography-draws-to-a-close/

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