Thursday, August 31, 2023

Text Recognition Map Search

The David Rumsey Map Collection has unveiled its new amazing Text on Maps feature which allows users to search one of the world's largest collections of digitized maps by text. The David Rumsey Map Collection contains over 57,000 geo-referenced vintage maps. Using the new Text on Maps feature you can now search for where any word appears on any of those 57,000 maps.

Old maps are an invaluable source of historical geographical information such as the names of streets, landmarks, rivers, etc. Text recognition can identify and extract these elements, enabling researchers to study and analyze the evolution of landscapes, urban planning, or changes in geographical features over time. Text recognition can also aid in comparing and analyzing various versions or editions of vintage maps. By extracting and comparing textual information, researchers could use the Text on Maps new search facility to identify similarities or differences in map features, annotations, or historical details, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of how cartography has developed over time.

There are numerous ways in which Text on Maps could prove an invaluable aid in many areas of research.

Search for Vintage Maps for a Place-Name

Text on Maps is an incredibly useful method to search maps in the David Rumsey Map Collection. For example, suppose you want to search through old maps of your home town to explore how it has changed over time. Now you simply have to type in the name of your town and the David Rumsey Collection will return all the maps that include a place-name label with your town's name. 

Search Maps for Points of Interest

You can use Text on Maps to find points of interest on digitized maps, for example gold mine, lighthouse, windmill, post office etc.

Search Maps for Mythical Places

You could use Text on Maps to search for mentions of mythical locations or people, for example Camelot, Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-la, etc.

Search for Mythical People

Text on Maps can be used to search for references to mythical (or Biblical) people on maps in the David Rumsey Maps Collection, for example Magog, Moses, King Arthur etc.

I am certain that Text on Maps can be used in lots of other ways to aid anyone who needs or wants to undertake research using vintage maps. Let us know in the comments how you would use Text on Maps to search the David Rumsey Map Collection.


John B said...

That will be useful. The art is guessing what will be on the map, as Fort Nelson might just appear as "fort" on the map.

Joe said...

Do you have any idea how to compare the texts extracted from the map?

Possible methodology.