7.000 digitized maps of Dutch Indies georeferenced by the public

20161117_163356The successful georeferencing project Maps in the Crowd – Dutch Indies closed on November 17th with a festive event. Over the last seven months a grand total of 7.000 digitized maps of the Dutch Indies has been georeferenced by the general public. These maps belong to the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). Since July 2014 this heritage collection is part of the Leiden University Libraries.

A large crowd gathered at the University Library to attend our public event celebrating the completion of the georeferencing process. It was with great pleasure that we handed out prizes to our most active volunteers and got to thank them personally for all their hard work!

The meeting kicked off with a general overview of the project by project leaders Martijn Storms and 20161117_155447Patrick Gouw. After the key-note lecture by dr. Frank Okker (who spoke about ‘super-volunteer’ Gerret Rouffaer, Indonesia explorer and ‘founder’ of the KITLV map collection) there was a lively panel discussion, in which our overall winner Carl Mierop and Heleen Hayes told us more about their experiences with using the Georeferencer. Questions were asked from the audience and a lot of feedback was received that will be taken into account for the next project phases.

During the award ceremony it was great to see many of our 20161117_163648top contributors, the driving people behind the project, together on stage. Carl Mierop was rewarded with a special gift: the monumental and rare full-colour Atlas of the Netherlands East Indies whilst the runners-up received a reproduction of a KITLV-map of their choice. Before a round of drinks and bites concluded the afternoon curator Martijn Storms showed the attendees several of the original maps that were included in our project.






The crowd helps unlocking historical maps of Dutch East Indies

Leiden University Libraries (UBL) has started the project Maps in the Crowd. Nearly 7,000 digitized maps Maps in the Crowdof the Dutch East Indies will be unlocked with help from visitors, students and others who are interested. The maps originate from the collections of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), whose archives and library collections are managed by the UBL since 2014. The project started on the 12th of February and will continue until December 2016. With participation of the public we hope to improve the accessibility of digital map data for teaching and research.

A special application has been developed to help the participants connect the digitalized historical maps, through the process of georeferencing, to a modern topographical map in Google Maps. It is quite straightforward: the historical map and its modern counterpart can be connected by designating five or more corresponding control points. The georeferenced map will then be shown as an overlay in Google Maps. Everyone who is interested is welcome to join our project. More information is available on the blog Maps in the Crowd.

KITLV-map collectionD_E_23_1
KITLV’s map collection includes around 16,000 map sheets and nearly 500 atlases from the 19th and 20th century. Comprising both colonial and modern material, this collection focuses on maps of modern day Indonesia, Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles and South-East Asia. The collection consists of manuscript material brought together by scientists, missionaries, soldiers, who mapped unknown territory. The collection also contains map sheets of several map series, including late 19th century residential maps from Java, topographical series from the Topographisch Bureau in Batavia, town plans, and a relatively small amount of thematic maps and atlases.