Rainer SIMON1 / Bernhard HASLHOFER2 / Joachim JUNG1
(1AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria / 2Cornell University, USA)

Abstract: Major memory institutions, such as the Library of Congress, or private collectors, such as David Rumsey, increasingly provide public access to large collections of high-quality digitized maps and views via the World Wide Web. While these collections are potentially a rich resource for scholars, online tools that support actual research on the items – analysis, annotation, semantic search, or scholarly collaboration – have been scarce.

This poster presents YUMA Map – an Open Source tool that facilitates collaborative annotation on historic maps. YUMA Map is entirely browser-based and provides a range of fundamental features: users can create free-text notes; mark locations or draw to indicate areas their annotations pertains to; they can reply to other users’ annotations; and follow discussions around a particular item or annotation via RSS. YUMA Map also includes features for map geo-referencing and overlay of geo-spatial data (such as present-day borders or coastlines). It is designed for integration into a host environment – e.g. an online map portal – and supports a wide range of image formats, including zoomable formats like Zoomify or TMS. (Non-zoomable images can be converted to a zoomable format on the fly.)

A key feature of YUMA Map is Semantic Tagging: when creating annotations, users can make them semantically expressive by adding links to relevant Linked Data resources. To support users in this task, the tool automatically generates suggestions based on the annotated geographical area and an analysis of the annotation text. Users can either verify the suggestions or ignore them. Relevant properties of accepted resources are stored as part of the annotation: e.g. alternative language labels, spelling variants or geo-coordinates. This information in turn can be used to enrich the metadata of the original collection item, and can be exploited to facilitate advanced search functionalities such as multilingual, synonym, or geographical search.

Keywords: Maps, Annotation, Linked Data