Mapping out Map Libraries

Ferjan Ormeling


Discussing the requirements for map data quality, map users and their library/archives environment, the paper focuses on the metadata the user would need for a correct and efficient interpretation of the map data. For such a correct interpretation, knowledge of the rules and guidelines according to which the topographers/cartographers work (such as the kind of data categories to be collected), and the degree to which these rules and guidelines were indeed followed are essential. This is not only valid for the old maps stored in our libraries and archives, but perhaps even more so for the new digital files as the format in which we now have to access our geospatial data. As this would be too much to ask from map librarians/curators, some sort of web 2.0 environment is sought where comments about data quality, completeness and up-to-dateness from knowledgeable map users regarding the specific maps or map series studied can be collected and tagged to scanned versions of these maps on the web. In order not to be subject to the same disadvantages as Wikipedia, where the ‘communis opinio’ rather than scholarship, seems to be decisive, some checking by map curators of this tagged map use information would still be needed. Cooperation between map curators and the International Cartographic Association ( ICA) map and spatial data use commission to this end is suggested.


data quality; map use; web 2.0 applications

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