Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Mega Map of Minerals

Last month in Microscopic Mapping I looked at a number of examples of mapping libraries being used to map and visualize high resolution imagery of cells, tardigrades and insects. Now it is the turn of minerals.

British & Exotic Mineralogy is a beautiful visualization and map of James Sowerby’s astonishing 19th Century drawings of minerals. This 'interactive map' allows you to zoom-in and explore 2,242 illustrations of minerals made by James Sowerby’s between 1802–1817. The map is interactive, which means you can click on individual minerals to read James Sowerby's own original notes on the selected illustrated mineral.

James Sowerby was an English naturalist and mineralogist. He was also a very talented illustrator. Among his many achievements Sowerby published two landmark illustrated books on mineralogy. These two books included hundreds of Sowerby's beautiful illustrations of minerals found in Great Britain and elsewhere. You can now explore these illustrations in close detail using the British & Exotic Mineralogy interactive map.

On the map all Sowerby's illustrations have been organized and sorted by color. After determining the key color in each illustration the individual minerals have been sorted by hue and brightness. The huge collage of all Sowerby's mineral illustrations was turned into map tiles by using Zoomify. The created map tile images are then presented as an interactive map using the OpenSeadragon viewer for high-resolution zoomable images.

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