Cartographic Heritage into the Digital

Content Analysis in Cartoheritage

5103.2 - Launching the David Rumsey Map Center: Large and multi-touch screens for teaching and research

Wednesday, July 5
8:50 AM - 9:10 AM
Location: Virginia A

Introduction and Context

The David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University Libraries opened on April 19, 2016. It is a new collections-based resource designed to provide access to cartographic information in all of its forms, from paper to digital. The Center is a flexible and rich environment for research and teaching. In addition to housing a large collection of rare atlases and maps, the Center is furnished with super high-resolution, super large screens equipped with interactive tools for viewing digital images, including touch based screens, innovative use of iPad-Pros and Oculus Rifts.

In this collocated environment, scholars will be able to work with the original physical item side-by-side with its digital surrogate. In digital form, a map can be readily manipulated, enlarged, quantified, aggregated, visualized, and systematically interrogated—yet digital images have limitations. The opportunity to work simultaneously with the source in its native format and context (such as a map within an atlas) enriches the information available, giving researchers the chance to embark on discoveries that would otherwise not be possible. The center’s functions are segmented by time—in the mornings we are a geo-garage, investigating new methods to extend cartography and break new ground, conduct workshops and teach classes. In the afternoon, we are a special collections center, where you can may page a 1608 Ortelius Atlas; see and touch it, make note of its nuances. You may then proceed to compare the digital versions of other atlases on our large 9 feet by 16 feet high resolution screen or interact with it on our 12 feet by 7 feet touch screen. Also, because we have several maps in our digital collections that are georeferenced, we can layer them and view them, for example on Google Earth. We have built-in exhibit spaces where we are using innovative ways to mount new maps and atlases in our space so we can have running exhibits. The exhibits have online companions and QR codes to go from the physical to the digital.

Results and Recommendations

By June 2017, We will have a full year’s worth of data to report and consider to gauge the success of this new space with its cutting-edge map viewing and interacting technology, designed for maps and atlases. This paper will report on the specific decisions taken to design this map center and what we have learned in a year of its use. We are particularly keen in understanding how we have improved access to maps, to help visualize them and to be a center to spark cartographic projects. How this center has functioned within the context of the academy is of particular import, to the cartographers and academics alike, and will add to the corpus of information to keep cartography vibrant, relevant and innovative. The paper will recommend ways to proceed and to fine-tune the technology at the center in order to be respond to todays' cartographic needs as it pertains to the academy.

G. Salim Mohammed

Head and Curator
David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford University Libraries

G. Salim Mohammed is the Head and Curator of the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Libraries. He worked closely with David Rumsey and other library colleagues to help conceptualize, design, create and build the Center. Prior to Stanford, he spent five years as the first Maps and GIS Librarian at University of Hawaii at Mānoa. He created Mānoa MAGIS (Maps, Aerials and GIS) bringing GIS services to the broader campus via the library. Salim has graduate degrees in Library Science and Geography (University of Wisconsin, Madison) He also has an MBA (Maine) and a BA from St. Olaf College and a BA in Commerce from Bangalore University.


Send Email for G. Salim Mohammed

Jiri Cajthaml

associate professor
Department of Geomatics, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague

Jiri Cajthaml holds PhD in Geodesy and Cartography (2007) from Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU). Currently he works as a senior lecturer at the Department of Geomatics of CTU. He is a member of Board of Czech cartographic society and represents Czechia in ICC Commission on cartographic heritage into the digital.


Send Email for Jiri Cajthaml


5103.2 - Launching the David Rumsey Map Center: Large and multi-touch screens for teaching and research

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Launching the David Rumsey Map Center: Large and multi-touch screens for teaching and research