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As I start putting antique Vermont maps as overlays in Google Earth, I found that Google Earth might not be the best way to “digitize” maps. The complexity of the earth surface steals the thunder of the map details. And Vermont looks absolutely ugly when patched by a giant map.
The maps have already been scanned in high quality and stored in the college digital collection server (the website of which, unfortunately, did not work well.) What, then, does map digitizing really mean? Does it suggest a need of managing the scanned maps with tools such as Concerto? Or does it mean developing various ways of map visualization? How can the antique maps contribute – as an information source, a form of art, or a bit of both? What are the map viewers trying to get out of the maps?
The answers to these questions will define how and why maps should be digitized. There is a perfect example done by the David Rumsey Map Collection. On their website, maps can be viewed with different image browsers (InSight and Collection Ticker,) GIS, Google Earth and even in SecondLife. Although the maps look extremely blurry in SecondLife, it seems to fit the category of digitizing. I would like to hear your thoughts on which might be the best way to illustrate the maps.


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