Cultural Heritage: Aligning Archive Maps and Extracting Footprints for Analysis of Historic Urban Environments

Computers and Graphics, Volume 35 Issue 2, April 2011

S. D. Laycock, P. G. Brown, R. G. Laycock, and A. M. Day

“Archive cartography and archaeologist’s sketches are invaluable resources when analysing a historic town or city. A virtual reconstruction of a city provides the user with the ability to navigate and explore an environment which no longer exists to obtain better insight into its design and purpose. However, the process of reconstructing the city from maps depicting features such as building footprints and roads can be labour intensive. In this paper we present techniques to aid in the semi-automatic extraction of building footprints from digital images of archive maps and sketches. Archive maps often exhibit problems in the form of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in scale which can lead to incorrect reconstructions. By aligning archive maps to accurate modern vector data one may reduce these problems. Furthermore, the efficiency of the footprint extraction methods may be improved by aligning either modern vector data or previously extracted footprints, since common elements can be identified between maps of differing time periods and only the difference between the two needs to be extracted. An evaluation of two alignment approaches is presented: using a linear affine transformation and a set of piecewise linear affine transformations.”