A.F. Wyttenbach1, M. Alvarez1, B. Bernabe1, J. Borbinha2

1 - Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain

2 - Instituto Superior Tecnico do Lisboa, Portugal


The access of historians and document management specialists to documentary funds and, in our case, the maps and their comparison, is an ever-present task for scientists, which is at times arduous due to the scattering of maps throughout different map libraries. Thus, it would be of interest to be able to access all available information remotely, through the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).


Presently there is a technology in existence allowing digitization and filing of information in electronic format with a quality matching the original. Conformant to the ISO standards and  OGC specifications, it is possible to catalogue and visualize information as images through the web, using different search systems, the structure  of a WMS (Web Map Server) and a metadata server.


In order to implement these technical possibilities, it is necessary to reach cooperative agreements between local, provincial, national or international institutions by means of the appropriate policy, in order to publish this information in the web. In addition, it is important that multidisciplinary teams of qualified professionals, historians, librarians, computer scientists, cartographers, etc. be built.

From an operative viewpoint, the strategy to follow consists of creating Digital Map Libraries in a local environment. The interoperability provided by the standards should always be taken into account. Thus, it will be possible to work out links with map libraries grouped in a wider distributed information system.


Some examples are presented from projects carried out by the Polytechnic University of Madrid in this field, as well as the DIGMAP Project of the eContentplus Programme of the European Commission, whose execution phase started off October 2006.


DIGMAP is a cooperative project between five European Countries that proposes to develop a solution for indexing, searching and browsing in the European collections of digitized historical maps with the support of multilingual geographic gazetteers. It will be possible to match them with the geographic areas covered by each map in the collection and to find it on them, based on standard and open data models. These results will be useful for local digital map libraries or as interoperable components for wider and distributed systems.


DIGMAP also takes advantage of any available descriptive metadata and it will offer sophisticated geographic browsing and timelines.