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We have some historical paper maps and we want to get them scanned and geo-referenced and ultimately make a seamless map for a particular time. What vendors supply this service? (I have found Fuzecore and DDS so far from a Google search.) What experience have you had with them? In general,

  • How does one go about evaluating these vendors--what criteria should be used to assess the quality, timeliness, and price of their work?

  • What kinds of issues might arise in outsourcing this? What are the risks?

To keep this thread within the StackExchange format, please provide objective and well-supported answers only.

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question only promotes marketing.. –  vinayan Aug 31 '12 at 16:36
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Thanks, @vinayan. I have edited the question (heavily) to keep its original intent while trying to help it fit within our framework. –  whuber Aug 31 '12 at 16:46
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Thanks @whuber, I am new here and have just started with this company. I only learnt about whole thing as a business proposal. Everything is in planning stage (though the manager wants results ASAP). You put it in better way, what I am looking for. –  Deep Aug 31 '12 at 17:37
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3 Answers

I would suggest talking to your local university or college. I work in a Geography department at a university in the geospatial data centre and we are doing a similar project with aerial photography for our local city. Universities can hire students, or make it apart of the class work. Many profs like the chance to tie their teaching to real world applications which provides skills for the student's resume.

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(+1) Yes also try their libraries. Both my previous university libraries had a GIS center within them which dealt with historical maps and would scan them. –  CaptDragon Sep 5 '12 at 19:04
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If you are looking for a local solution, consider contacting architectural firms in your area. Very often these firms have (the increasingly rare) high quality, large format scanners needed to scan in your maps. Once the maps are digitized, you can georeference and mosaic them yourself or send the data off to be processed. I recommend looking into this approach if your maps are especially rare, historic and/or delicate.

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I've had this done at a local print shop, though they just did the scanning, I combined the images (they could have done this too but I was in a hurry and had the ability to do it) and georeferenced the resulting image.

The most important thing to me when I had it done was that the original maps not be damaged in any way, since they didn't belong to me. The key to that was not using a roll-fed scanner, which can tear old paper as it feeds through. A roll scanner can also distort the final image if the roller skips at all while feeding the paper through. The shop I used used a large-format flatbed scanner like this:

enter image description here

The bed at the bottom uses a little air pressure to pull the paper down and keep it flat without damaging it.

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