Monday, October 21, 2013

Citizen Mapping in New York

The New York Public Library has been blazing a trail in the use of citizen cartography through its wonderful Map Warper tool. The tool utilizes the power of the 'crowd' to help digitize the libraries wonderful collection of historical maps.

Using the tool anyone can help the Library align their historical maps on top of a modern OpenStreetMap of New York. Now that the library has digitized a large number of their maps they need help in identifying building footprints on the maps.

The New York Library's new Building Inspector is another 'citizen science' tool that allows anyone to help the library identify building footprints on the library's maps. The library has developed a Map Vectorizer application which automatically detects building footprints and converts them to machine-readable shape files.

The Map Vectorizer can automatically identify building footprints in an entire borough in a matter of hours. However the data footprints are not always completely accurate. That's where the Building Inspector comes in as it allows users to determine if a building footprint is accurate or whether it needs to be redrawn.

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