The BnF and the geoweb

The BnF and the geoweb

On Wednesday, 23rd of November, we went to the François Mitterrand Library (the newest site of the BnF) to attend a debate: “Cartography at the time of the geoweb: practices and reactivation”. We propose you an overview of the debate.

  • Map digitization: the geoweb is everywhere for everyone

The concept of geoweb is basically the way Internet gets into an object of representation. To understand the concept of geoweb it is important to see and to be conscious that there was a transition between an “anonymous Internet” and a “social network” Internet. Indeed, Internet became a tool to locate oneself on the earth area, first with Google Maps in 2005 and later Google Earth. These kinds of tool serve to locate every available resource which can be found on the Web: it makes it possible to index all the contents of the Web!

The geoweb can also be named as a “service of services” because, for example, it is possible to have access to aerial photography and this kind of document has a lot of value for the information of the earth area.

We can really say that the geoweb is everywhere for everyone because thanks to every object which has access to Internet (computer, notebook, digital tablet, mobile phone, etc), you can visit geography.

As we saw, map making is a growing practise for Internet users. The growing globalization of Internet users makes the updating of the maps in the world easier. So, with this new dynamic and collaborative map making, what is the place for the old maps? Actually, the old maps can supply a real value to the map users on the Web. Let us explain…

  • Gallica: the digital library

Gallica: the digital library

Gallica is the digital library created by the BnF in 1997. In fact, since 1992, the BnF has been digitizing its collections (books, photos, maps…). Today, 1.5 million documents are available online. One of the roles of this digital library is to conserve important old cartographic collections, to give them value and to give a large access to a public who is familiar with the web participative approach of geolocation. That’s how a better adapted transmission will be given to maps users.

Short history of the digitization of maps

1996-1997: start of maps digitization.

1999-2005: maps are classified into thematic files.

2006: obligation of web legal deposit with the DADVSI law.

2006-2011: the offer of cartographic documents increases. A logic of “specialized collections” is adopted.

2010: functionalities are added to help reading and other things.

  • Some online resources

–  flightradar24.com: shows live air traffic around the world.

–  cartomundi.fr: international collective map catalog.

–  old-maps.co.uk: historical map archive site (England, Wales and Scotland only).

–  alpage.tge-adonis.fr: research program to create a geographical information system about the pre-industrial Parisian area.

–  whatwasthere.com: allow to navigate streets as they were in the past.

–  openstreetmap.fr: Free map of the world, available with multiple cartographic representations (relief, streets …).

About Marie-Lyne Orsini

I'm a French student at the University Institute of Tecnology Paris Descartes. I'm studying book trades.
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