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Map cataloging

This is the first outline of a document that defines the rules and definitions for the input of data into the VCP platforms. It will serve as a reference document to ensure that all participants work along the same lines. Of course, this document will evolve over time. It will be updated regularly on the basis of all the suggestions received.



Automatic ID number

Original title:

Indicate here the exact original title in the original language


For maps in Chinese or in Japanese, indicate here the transliterated title in pinyin (Chinese) or romaji (Japanese). You should follow the original wording, not a character-by-character transliteration. Example: 上海新街道圖 Shanghai xin jiedao tu.

Alternative original title:

Some maps carry two tiles (e.g. one in Chinese, one in English). The secondary title should be listed here. You can also use this field to provide a translation of the title. In this case, always add [Trans.] before the translation Example for 上海新街道圖: [Trans.] Shanghai new street map


Important: select here the collection (web platform) where the map will appear. Maps are ordered by geographical location, except for two thematic collections: WMS (War Made Shanghai project) and IPRAUS ‐ ENSA PB.

WMS Project: all the maps used or created for the project shall be recorded under the WMS Collection.

Digitized file:

Indicate here whether the original map has been digitized.

Map type:

Important: this scrolling commands the distribution of maps according to their nature: - source maps: original historical maps - base maps: edited neutral base maps (usually territories, boundaries, etc.) - e-Atlas: edited maps


Name of the person who elaborated the map from data and/or from various cartographic sources


Name of the person who actually prepared and drew the map, both for historical maps (an author can be an institution) and edited maps.


Year of publication

Year range:

In case the exact year is unknown, indicate here the assessed year range in the same format (years) as for images (e.g. 1912-1916). Do not use expressions as “late 19th century”, “mi-1950s”, etc.


(optional) In case of successive printing and updates, indicate here the exact edition.


The size of maps as a rule is given in centimeters, starting with length (larger side): e.g. 75 x 25 cm


Indicate here the scale as given on the map. When the scale if given in measures of length (e.g. one inch for 2 miles), you should calculate the scale. In the absence of any indication, you can leave this field blank. To calculate a scale, you can use the following scale calculator:

Map support:

Click on one of the listed buttons to define the material support of the map. You can choose only one type of material.

Source Format & Resolution:

Select here the format and resolution of the digital versions of the map. You can choose various format and resolution simultaneously. If you resolution is different from the figures listed here, select the closest figure.


Indicate here the name of the publisher. If the name is in Chinese or Japanese, provide the pinyin (Chinese) or romaji (Japanese) name first, then the original characters.

Place of event:

(optional) Indicate here the place shown in the map

Year of event:

(optional) Indicate here the year of the event(s) shown on the map


Free text field for comments, explanations, etc. on the map.


Indicate here the keywords that best describe the map

Place of publication:

Indicate here the place of publication (city name) when known.


Indicate here the main language of the map


To be deleted


(optional) Indicate here the link to another copy of the map in a different repository, in the original repository or to any relevant web site.


If the maps was drawn from a published source such as a book, select the relevant publication in the bibliography. If you do not find the relevant reference, go to the Bibliography section and create a new record. Then you can come back to the map record and add the source. By default, publications are listed by alphabetical order of the author; if there is no author, the title is used as a subsitute.


Indicate here the name of the repository (library, archives, etc.) that holds the original map. You can indicate up to three different repositories. Click on the “selection” button and select the relevant repository. If the repository does not exist in the database, save your current record, go to the “Repository” menu and create a new record. You can then come back to the incomplete map record and add the repository.


Indicate here the name of the publisher of the map. Click on the “selection” button and select the relevant publisher. If the publisher does not exist in the database, save your current record, go to the “Publisher” menu and create a new record. You can then come back to the incomplete map record and add the repository.

File attachment:

This is where you will upload the digital file of the map.

File (1) You can upload up to 10 files for the same map. This is may by used when a map comes in several separate sheets. Do not use this for successive versions of the same map as the metadata would not correspond to the uploaded document.

You may want to add a copyright restriction or a copyright tag to the uploaded map. In this case, you can first choose where the copyright tag will appear by selecting the appropriate mode in the scrolling menu.

Copyright Display Option

Permit download full resolution yes no You can limit the possibility for users to download the original map file. By default, the server is set on “No” (external users can only download a low resolution file).

Permit unauthenticated access to document yes no By default, all users can see the uploaded documents, but you can deny access to a document by selecting “No” in this field. External users will only see the map record, but no the uploaded images at all. Unless there is a specific reason (e.g. work document), this feature should be used rarely.

Map creation

1) Indispensable Features:

When making a map, there are a number of compulsory features that need to appear. They are:

  • the north arrow
  • the scale in metric system. It is the international standard in sciences, it has to be used. No scale in miles or in any other non-metric system.
  • a clear legend of the symbols used in the mapa clear title that explicitly says what the map is about. This title can either be within the map's frame if there is room for it, or above the map's frame if the map takes all the space in the frame - which is often the case for maps showing terrain background, for example.

Below the map's frame, lined on the left, the following notices have to appear:

  author of map
  the copyright symbol ©
  year of creation of the map
  the relevant [VCP] Digital Map Library”

If you belong to an institution that expects or requires that you mention your affiliation, or simply because you wish to do so, the format can be altered as follows:

  author of map
  the copyright symbol ©
  year of creation of the map
  name or acronym of the relevant institution
  Ex. Li Yi©2012 SASS 
  where "SASS" stands for Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

3) Size, Resolution, Format

When you create a map, three parameters count: the size of the map, its resolution, and its format.

As for the size, it depends on the type of media the map is intended to. Most of the time maps are intended to be printed on sheets or books that are roughly the size of an A4 sheet . This means that usually the width of a map is roughly 19 cm or 7.5 inches for a portrait printing, or roughly 27 cm or 10.6 inches for a landscape printing. Then there is no rules as for the proportions between the width and the height, it all depends on the map and what you want to show. Sometime maps can be intended for poster printings. Then there is no rule as for the size. Finally, maps can be intended for digital publication. Then, it is recommended to design the map to fit in an A4 sheet, as explained above, to allow people to use it in articles and other publications.

As for the resolution, it depends on the content of your map. The general rule is to be able to zoom in on the details without seeing pixels. Maps that contain only vector graphics (like map showing the political boundaries between several countries) don't need to be produced at a very high resolution. The average good resolution for vector maps is 150ppi. Maps that contain raster imagery, such as elevation background, must be produced at higher resolutions. It will depend on the quality of you raster datasets. The minimum resolution to get a decent image is 300ppi. The recommended resolution is between 500 and 600ppi. Then, resolutions can be a lot higher, it all depends on the quality of the datasets used, and on how much you want people to be able to zoom in.

Finally, as for the format, there is only one rule: all maps have to be exported as TIFFs. From them we can convert them into jpegs for internet uses. But it's important to have original TIFFs for archival pruposes, and to meet the possible needs of tomorrow's technologies.

Map naming and storing

Folder Structure

Map resolution

As a rule, all maps are to be digitized in TIFF format in the highest resolution possible. Depending on various factors (size of the original map, external provider, etc.), this may not be possible. In any case, one should try to get the highest resolution available and, for archival purposes, aim at 300 dpi.

Storing maps

All the maps are to be uploaded on the VCP platforms in either of the following resolutions:

  PNG file in the maximum resolution available: at least 300-400 dpi.
  JPEG file at at least 300dpi

The uploaded maps are stored in two separate folders named after the format + resolution they contain: “PNG_300+dpi”, “JPEG_400dpi”.

Beside these, maps are also stored in archive files, contained in the folder named “TIFF_archive”. These archive files include for each map:

- the actual map in two resolutions:

  TIFF file in the maximum resolution available: at least 300-400 dpi.
  JPEG file at at least 300ppi

When a map is in several sheets, all sheets are included in the archive file.

Finally, maps are stored as georectified GIS files. These files go in the “maps_georectified” folder.

Naming Standards

Each map is identified by a unique ID expressed in the following minimal format “ID_##_year”, where ## represents a the ID number of the map record in the map collection, and year represents the year of publication (ex: ID_7_1867, ID_44_1912, ID_51_1949). Before uploading a map, one needs first to create the record in the map collection. This will automatically created an ID number. This ID number will be inserted in the file name.

It is possible to insert additional information data between the ID number and the year. In this case, it should be inserted as follows: ID_7_Shanghai_1867; ID_51_Saigon-Cholon_1949. Use the dash - sign if necessary to qualify information data (ID_51_Saigon-Cholon_1949; ID_7_Shanghai-English-Setttlement_1867), but use only the underscore _ sign to separate all the ID elements (ex: ID_7_1867)

When a map comes in various sheets, the number ## in the ID is the same for all the sheets, and they are then differentiated by the addition of letters at the end (ex: ID_7a_1867, ID_7b_1867, ID_7c_1867; etc.).

When a map is published with information both on the front and the back, then both files are named after the same number ## in the ID. They are differentiated by the addition of “-front” or “-back” after the ID. Examples: ID_7-front_1867, ID_7-back_1867. Finally, each image has to report its resolution in its name. The rule is to simply add “-##dpi” at the end of the name of the file, where ## represents the resolution of the file. Examples: ID_7_1867-25dpi, ID_44_1912-400dpi . Sometime maps have their legend on a different sheet or page. Therefore there is the need to include a scan of this separate legend as well. The rule to name the scanned legend is to name it after the map adding “-legend” after the ID (ex: ID_44_1912-legend-300dpi).

For the archive files the rule is to include only the highest resolution available in it. Therefore, its name is composed by the ID of the map followed by the resolution of the highest image available. Examples: ID_44_1912-600dpi.

Finally, for the georectified GIS files, we do not indicate the resolution in the name as we work from the highest available and as the resolution is then altered by the GIS software during the georectifying process to fit the GIS needs. Moreover, georectified maps come with several documents. All documents for a given map go into a single folder named after the original ID as follows “ID_xx_1956_grf” (ex. ID_7_Shanghai_1867_grf)

Of course, these names have to be followed by the extension of the file. As of January 2012, images are in .jpg and TIFF, and archives are in .zip.

maps.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/22 13:38 by chenriot