shrug-l: Scanner Needed

Sykes, John John.Sykes at
Mon Nov 10 09:42:43 EST 2008


Recently I travelled over to the State Library to investigate antique maps of
the Pensacola area.  To my chagrin, I discovered that the State Library has
some 3,000 maps dating back as far as 1585!  Of those 3,000 maps only about
1,000 have ever been scanned so that they are available for outside use.

The problem is that the library had formerly sent maps out to be scanned when
an electronic copy was requested.  They did this until one of their valuable
maps was lost or damaged (the people I talked to weren't sure which),
whereupon the State Librarian decided not to allow the maps out of the Gray
Building in the future.

These maps are extremely valuable, hence that fiat.  The State Archives
(collocated with the library in the R.A. Gray Building) has an 11 x 17
scanner, which does not help for scanning maps that are up to 36 x 40 inches
or larger and may be quite fragile.  Those maps that have been scanned are
available online as TIFFs, PDFs and JPGs.  I have successfully imported some
of these antique maps into ArcInfo and georeferenced them to current maps
and/or aerial photos.  In fact, one of these maps, from 1906, is still the
legal basis for the parcels in the city of Pensacola!  These maps give the
GIS community a great asset when available.

Since some 2/3 of the maps in the collection have NOT been scanned, I am
suggesting that the SHRUG group investigate acquiring and donating a 36" wide
(or larger) scanner to the State Library.  Then, perhaps with some
significant internship time from the SHRUG community (maybe students from the
FSU Geography Department, etc.) these 2,000+ maps could be accurately scanned
(note that some of the maps that have already been scanned need to be
rescanned more carefully) and made available to the GIS community, students
and the general public, not only in the State of Florida, but everywhere
internet access is available.

Any comments or thoughts?  Could we, perhaps, discuss this further at the
business meeting at the SHRUG Annual Meeting?  Or perhaps one of our vendors
could step-up with some help for this?

-- John

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