Thursday, October 19, 2017

Maps for Museums

Major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. In interactive mapping terms you might say it is a standard for creating interactive map tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings.

One outcome from this adoption of IIIF is that there are hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other documents which can now be viewed as interactive maps. Yesterday in Mapping Van Gogh we looked at an impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing IIIF manifests. The IIIF Curation Viewer allows you to paste in the URL of a IIIF manifest and view a manuscript or painting as a zoomable image in a Leaflet map. You can use the tool to explore any painting, manuscript or other image shared by institutions around the world in the IIIF format.

Instead of using this Leaflet IIIF Viewer, made by the Center for Open Data in the Humanities, you could make your own. Leaflet-IIIF is a simple to use plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests or images shared using the IIIF Image API. If you use this Leaflet plug-in you can then make interactive maps from tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other images held by some of the best known global art galleries, museums and universities. For example Princeton University are using the plug-in to show a Plan of Versailles as an interactive Leaflet map.

If you prefer OpenLayers you can use Klokan Technologies' IIIF Viewer instead. This open-source IIIF Viewer uses the OpenLayers interactive map library to display images using IIIF. Here are a few examples of the IIIF Viewer in action. 

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