Accuracy analysis of old maps
Map historians have developed various techniques for the analysis and visualization of the planimetric accuracy of historical maps. The application of these techniques can be greatly simplified and accelerated by the use of modern computers. However, map historians have been in an unfortunate situation, because existing software was generally not easily available, required a particular operating system, was partially based on expensive GIS, could not be easily extended, or did not provide an easy-to-use interface. The absence of ready-to-use computer software obliged map historians to either renounce on computer-supported analysis techniques, or to develop their own software. This lack inspired us to develop MapAnalyst, a user-friendly application that is freely available for interested map historians.
MapAnalyst is a Java application that runs on all major computer platforms. It allows for the efficient identification and management of control points in a historical map and in a corresponding reference map, and computes distortion grids, error vectors and isolines of scale and rotation. It offers a wide palette of parameters to fine-tune the generated graphics. MapAnalyst also computes the historical map’s scale, rotation angle and statistical indicators, and offers interactive tools to explore local variations of displacements, scale and rotation.
MapAnalyst is freely available to all map historians, and its open-source code can be extended by anyone with Java programming skills. The software has been designed with a special focus on a user-friendly interface that allows historians without a technical background to easily analyze the geometry of old maps.
See the Background page for more information about the internals of MapAnalyst.
MapAnalyst is developed and maintained by Bernhard Jenny, RMIT University, Melbourne. Some parts were contributed by Adrian Weber, then at ETH Zurich. Most programming was carried at the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation of ETH Zurich. This website is maintained by Bernhard Jenny.