The British Library has launched a pilot project to engage the public’s help in geoferencing historical maps. A sample of 725 maps of England and Wales from the 18th and 19th century (from the Ordnance Survey Drawings, 1780-1840) along with with large-scale street plans of London from 1560 to 1860 (from the the Crace Collection) have been selected for this project.
From Kimberly C. Kowal, the Lead Curator, Digital Mapping of the British Library:
The technology is an an upgraded version of Klokan Technologies initial georeferencing software (such as that implemented at the National Library of Scotland). Features surrounding management of metadata and images are improved, as is the overall user experience (base maps, registration, gazetteers), but most significantly, crowdsourcing tools to encourage participation have been developed. The inclusion of means by which participants can immediately see what they and others have contributed to the project has been a real incentive and has made this an engaging tool to explore historic mapping.
Should the crowdsourcing georeferencing effort be successful, the curators at the British Library hope to make more map collections available via geographic search. The project will run from February 2012 to January 2013. Visit the geoferencing page at the British Library to learn more about participating in the project and to browse a map of georeferenced maps.