From Paper Map to Geospatial Vector Layer

Demystifying the Process


  • Peter Peller University of Calgary



map features, vectorization, raster-to-vector conversion, geospatial vector layers, feature extraction, digitization


With paper map use in decline, one of the strategies that libraries and archives can adopt to make the information contained within them more accessible and usable is to extract features of interest from their scanned raster maps and convert those to geospatial vector data. This process adds valuable unique data to library geospatial collections and enables those previously map-bound features to be used separately in geographic information systems (GIS) software for custom mapping and analysis. Advances in partially automating most of the process have made this a much more viable option for libraries and archives. Although there is no one-size-fits-all automated solution for all maps and map features, this paper provides a complete description of the entire process incorporating examples of the various techniques and software used in selected studies that would be applicable in the library and archive environment.




How to Cite

Peller, P. (2018). From Paper Map to Geospatial Vector Layer: Demystifying the Process. IASSIST Quarterly, 42(3), 1–24.