Geographia Polonica (2013) vol. 86, iss. 4

Georeferencing of historical maps using GIS, as exemplified by the Austrian Military Surveys of Galicia

Andrzej Affek

Geographia Polonica (2013) vol. 86, iss. 4, pp. 375-390 | Full text

Archival maps are an invaluable source of information about the state of the geographical environment. They represent the primary research material for analysis of changes in spatial characteristics of the environment. However, a prerequisite for any reliable analysis is an accurate match between archival maps and contemporary cartographic materials and the estimation of error inherent to every match. The most effective way of achieving this nowadays is to use GIS software. The aim of this work is thus to present and discuss georeferencing methods of archival paper maps that make a precise comparison with contemporary reference layers possible. Two alternative georeferencing methods for maps based or not based on a geodetic network are described, and the georeferencing of archival maps is discussed further by referenceto the First, Second and Third Military Surveys of Galicia conducted by the MGI (Militärgeographisches Institut), and completed in 1783, 1863 and 1879 respectively.

Keywords: historical GIS (HGIS), First, Second and Third Military Surveys, map datum transformation map rectification, Habsburg Empire

Andrzej Affek [], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland