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The process of converting features on a map or image (either hardcopy or digital) to vector-based data in digital format.

Digitizing is central to making a digital representations of geographical features, using raster or vector images, in a geographic information system, i.e., the creation of electronic maps, either from various geographical and satellite imaging (raster) or by digitizing traditional paper maps or graphs (vector).

Source: Wikipedia.

Types of Digitizing:

  • Manual Digitizing: It is done using digitizing tablet. The operator manually traces all the lines from his hardcopy map and creates identical digital map on the computer. It is very time consuming and level of accuracy is also not very good.
  • Heads-up Digitizing: It is similar to manual digitizing in the way that lines have to be drawn manually but directly on the computer screen. So in this level of accuracy increases and time taken decreases.
  • Interactive tracing method: It is improvement over Heads-up digitizing in terms of speed and accuracy.
  • Automatic Digitizing: It is automated raster to vector conversion using image processing and pattern recognition techniques In this technique computer traces all the lines, which results in high speed and accuracy along with improved quality of images.

Source: Maps of the World.