Encoding and Querying Historic Map Content

  • Simon Scheider
  • Jim Jones
  • Alber Sánchez
  • Carsten KeßlerEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Libraries have large collections of map documents with rich spatio-temporal information encoded in the visual representation of the map. Currently, historic map content is covered by the provided metadata only to a very limited degree, and thus is not available in a machine-readable form. A formal representation would support querying for and reasoning over detailed semantic contents of maps, instead of only map documents. From a historian’s perspective, this would support search for map resources which contain information that answers very specific questions, such as maps that show the cities of Prussia in 1830, without manually searching through maps. A particular challenge lies in the wealth and ambiguity of map content for queries. In this chapter, we propose an approach to describe map contents more explicitly. We suggest ways to formally encode historic map content in an approximate intensional manner which still allows useful queries. We discuss tools for georeferencing and enriching historic map descriptions by external sources, such as DBpedia. We demonstrate the use of this approach by content queries on map examples.


Description Logic Graph Pattern Open Geospatial Consortium Content Graph Triple Store 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) through the Linked Data for eScience Services (LIFE) project (KU 1368/11-1). We also would like to thank our project partners, the Münster University Library (ULB) and the Institute for comparative urban history (ISTG) for their constant support of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Scheider
    • 1
  • Jim Jones
    • 1
  • Alber Sánchez
    • 1
  • Carsten Keßler
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for GeoinformaticsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.CARSI, Department of Geography, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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