Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Annotating Vintage Maps

At the weekend I released an annotated translated version of the Borgia Mappa Mundi, a German map of the world which was made around the middle of the 15th Century. This annotated version of the map was very easy to make using my Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON web application.

Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON allows you to view and annotate IIIF images in a Leaflet.js interactive map. 

With Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you can: 

  1. View IIIF images inside a Leaflet map 
  2. Use the provided drawing tools to then annotate the image 
  3. Save your annotations as a GeoJSON file 
  4. Load and view GeoJSON data on top of any IIIF image 

Demo - this will open a blank copy of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. 

If you want to view an image with Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you need to append the URL of a IIIF manifest to the URL of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. For example, 


 will open The Drawing Lesson by Jan Steen inside Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

You can view more examples of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON in action on its GitHub page. The Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON GitHub repository also includes a number of demo geojson files which you can dowload and view on Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. It is a standard for creating interactive image tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings. Many major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). This means that there are thousands of porential sources for IIIF images which you can view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

One major source for vintage maps to view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON is the David Rumsey Map Collection. In the screenshot above you can see how to retrieve the IIIF manifest image for a map in the David Rumsey Map Collection by selecting Share > IIIF Manifests.

Once you have copied the IIIF manifest address of a map on the David Rumsey website you can simply append it to the Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON URL. For example,


will open a geological survey map of the United States. Now you can draw and annotate the map in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON and save the results as a GeoJSON file.

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