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Towards Semi-Automatic Annotation of Toponyms on Old Maps

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  • 1. Towards Semi-Automatic Annotation of Toponyms on Old Maps Rainer Simon, Peter Pilgerstorfer Austrian Institute of Technology Leif Isaksen University of Southampton Elton Barker The Open University September 19-20 2013 | 8th International Workshop on Digital Approaches to Cartographic Heritage, Rome, Italy
  • 2. Map Digitization
  • 3. But: Search & discovery limited by available catalog metadata!
  • 4. Spatial Search?
  • 5. (Caistor St. Edmund) „Venta“ Toponyms?
  • 6. (Whitchurch) „Mediolanum“ Toponyms?
  • 7. (Lincoln) „Lindum“ Toponyms?
  • 8. Transcription? OCR? Remains a huge challenge. We envision a semi-automatic process in which a human expert is assisted in “annotation grunt work”
  • 9. Goal: detect toponyms on old maps with open source tools.
  • 10. Approach: determine location, extent and orientation using image processing and connected component analysis
  • 11. 3 Step Process: Background/Foreground Separation Feature Detection Feature Linking
  • 12. Step 1: Background/Foreground Note: our steps still include manual tuning/intervention.
  • 13. Step 2: Feature Detection
  • 14. Step 3: Feature Linking
  • 15. Some preliminary results:
  • 16. Experiment #1 Ptolemaic Map of the British Isles, ca. 1480 © The British Library Board. Harley MS 7182 ff.. 60v-61.
  • 17. Experiment #2 Josephinische Landesaufnahme: Gebiet von Moos- kirchen bis Grazer Feld, Österreich, 1764-1787.
  • 18. Experiment #3 Salvator Oliva, Mediterranean. Portolan Atlas, Marseilles, 1619. • 333 toponyms counted • 532 detections • ~50% recall • ~31% precision
  • 19. http://rsimon.github.com/toponym_identification Full-resolution views at
  • 20. Future work – Pelagios 3: • Provide an index of toponyms in early geospatial documents • Create assistive annotation tools to enhance the index • Develop an “analysis workbench” to conduct visual & statistical comparions between different collections and documents
  • 21. Thank you for your attention http://pelagios-project.blogspot.co.uk rainer.simon@ait.ac.at @aboutgeo