Google wants to preserve historical maps in 3D through Carta Labs (Kartta LabsIt is an open source, scalable system on Google Cloud and Kubernetes that reconstructs what cities in the past looked like from historical maps and images.
And is available System Carta Labs as a set of tools, as it creates an explorable timeline map, allowing users to fill in dates with historically accurate information.
The Carta Labs system was first introduced last year during the International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence to Discover Geographical Knowledge.
According to the creators, the drive is to organize historical maps of the world while making them accessible and useful.
Historic maps help identify cultural and social trends and are an invaluable resource for civic research, planning and outreach.
More than a decade ago, former Vice President Al Gore used historical imagery from Google Earth to show the melting of polar ice caps.
Other efforts to collect historical maps exist in digital archives, but the Carta Labs system goes beyond just collecting data to record maps in space and time.
The time map server shows how maps change over time, while the crowdsourcing platform allows users to upload historical maps of cities and match them to real-world coordinates.
Another platform works above the maps to create a 3D experience by leveraging artificial intelligence to rebuild buildings.
The Warper web application allows users to geo-locate uploaded images by finding points on the historical map and corresponding points on the base map.
Once the user uploads the map, (Warper) makes a better guess of the geographical location of the map by extracting the textual information from the map.
This initial guess is used to roughly place the map in position and allow the user to geo-refer to the map’s pixels.
After manually placing the control points on the historical and reference map, the app uses the geotagged points to adjust the image so that it matches well with the reference map.
The editor integrates with (Warper), so that the tool supports the time dimension, and it integrates with other applications in the Carta Labs system, allowing users to download geographically defined historical maps and track geographical features.
The Carta Labs system on the front end of the time map depicts directional labels, allowing users to navigate through historical maps in space and time.
The front end of the Carta Labs system works like Google Maps, but with a time slider that identifies the map of the year, and moving the time slider shows how features in the map change over time.
According to Google, 3D Models reconstruct the full detailed 3D structures of historic buildings, link images with map data, organize these 3D models in a repository and display them on maps.
Google said: We hope the Carta Labs system will act as a link between the developer community, map enthusiasts and ordinary users who use our historical data sets and open source code.