200 Years of Dutch Topo Maps

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Why We Love It

Travel through two centuries of topographic and cartographic history in The Netherlands. This web map app makes it possible to see political, artistic, and scientific forces at work. We love how the simple interface allows just enough interactivity (pan, zoom, search) to draw you into this rich, historic record. Use the timeline slider to see the process of land reclamation, urbanization, and land allocation. Take note of the changes in cartographic style and technology.

Why It Works

Scanned images of older paper maps are precisely georeferenced so you can exactly compare changes over time. There’s no interference from variations in scale, rotation, or projection. Without this, the maps would not register to each other and geographic features would appear to shift between time periods. By using a new digital medium for this historical data and merging it with modern data, we see how a nation’s portrait of itself has changed over 200 years.

Important Steps

Once scanned and digitized, the paper map images are georeferenced.

All the historical maps are combined in mosaic datasets. Those mosaic datasets are used to create tiled services for the specific years. Each tile contained 256 x 256 pixels.

Tiled services were chosen for making the maps accessible online. Preparing so many tiled services is a lot of work, but with a web app for a very large target group, the added performance and scalability justify the effort.

The ArcGIS API for JavaScript was used to create the app. This API offers handy building blocks. It also makes sure that the application works seamlessly in various environments, from browsers on desktops to mobile devices.

The application was designed specifically to make the maps easy to navigate through time and scale. A timeline slider combined with familiar pan, zoom, and search functions ensure that the maps are the focus.

Requirements

Data

The web map app is based on 200 years of Dutch topographic maps, from 1815 until 2015. All the historical maps are combined in mosaic datasets. Those mosaic datasets are used to create tiled services for the specific years.

Analysis

Scanned georeferenced images of the maps were combined together into a mosaic dataset. Tiled services were used to make the data accessible online. The ArcGIS API for JavaScript was used to build the application. The app itself can be used for simple analysis. You can compare and contrast the geography and cartographic style over 200 years of topographic mapping.

Time

Over the course of five weeks, Esri Nederland’s content team counted up the thousands of historical maps, combined them into mosaic datasets which were then shared as tiled services (about 1.2 TB in storage space) with ArcGIS Online. The JavaScript application was created in five days.

ArcGIS for Javascript API

Tips

Use the ArcGIS for Javascript API to make sure that the application works seamlessly in various environments, from browsers on desktops to mobile devices.

ArcGIS Online

Tips

If you expect a very large target group, use tiled layers via ArcGIS Online. This technology works very fast and ArcGIS Online automatically scales up the services during ‘peak usage.’

More Information

Map Author

Kadaster

Kadaster

@Het_Kadaster | LinkedIn

The Netherlands’ Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency – in short Kadaster – collects and registers administrative and spatial data on property and the rights involved. Kadaster is also responsible for updating the nationwide topographical datasets (10K – 500K) on a bi-annual cycle.

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