From Paper Maps to Digital GIS Maps


Since the ancient time, Cartography has an important role in human society. Moreover, the results of this domain, namely maps, have been a decisive tool in political movements, geographical discoveries and wars to conquer new territories. Having such a long history and many important roles in the actual geopolitical aspect of the world, cartography and maps have developed simultaneously with technology.

make a transition from paper maps to digital

Roles of maps

Maps are the most significant tool to visualize the location and attributes of the objects, but also diverse phenomenon present at the Earth’s surface. Maps can enhance the understanding of the relationships between different environments and features. The core characteristic of maps is the spatial property of each type of map. Maps may be seen as a synthetic method to display different kinds of processes, information, events, features and time changes. Because maps are basically saying a story, these maps should be readable and understood by the general public, even if they are not specialists in cartography. Consequently, each map should have several items that are mandatory and these items include the area that is represented through the map, a title, the scale that is aimed to explain to the reader about the process of reducing the real terrain on the map, a legend that is aimed to explain the elements and features presented on the map and the map orientation. These are items mandatory for each map, but there are other items that may be added in order to enhance the readability of these maps, items such as photos, text.


Transition to digital maps

Since we are living in the digital period, when computational techniques are mandatory for each domain, cartography and maps should adapt to these requirements. Consequently, Geographical Information System (GIS) has been developed. GIS represents a collection of techniques and methods that allow the users to collect, process, analyze and display on maps the geographic data. Furthermore, GIS is a great tool in the mapping process, since a wide range of tools and methods have been implemented in a wide range of software that may create interactive and dynamic maps.

In the past, maps were static, printed on paper as single maps or as collection of maps in different atlases. Combining numerical data and spatial data was impossible in the past. Moreover, maps were developed and used only by geographers, cartographers or other experts in the field of mapping. Numerous people considered maps something inaccessible and extremely difficult to understand.

On the other hand, nowadays maps have become familiar with a huge number of people. Furthermore, maps are used in a great number of applications in diverse domains. In order to have maps available into digital format, data regarding natural and human features should be transformed into digital data. This process was done using GIS software, tools and methods. Since the 1980’s, digital mapping has gained more interest and the computer has become a common tool in mapping design.


Digital maps and GIS methods benefits

There are numerous advantages of using GIS methods in cartography and mapping. First of all, maps may be updated with new information whenever is necessary and new maps are obtained. Updating a map using GIS can reduce considerably the time to generate new maps, since the template is already done. Secondly, statistical and numerical data can be joined with spatial data. This advantage is very important since the time required to create a map displaying a wide range of numerical data overlaying different areas is considerably reduced using GIS techniques and digital data. Furthermore, GIS methods work based on interoperability capabilities, meaning that digital spatial data can be utilized in various GIS software and web-mapping platforms. Another advantage is given by the possibility to use the same map both as a printed map and as a digital map displayed in the online environment.

By putting together GIS and Internet, great capabilities such as accessing interactive maps, real-time geospatial data analysis and availability of independent GIS analysis tools are available to users. Behind all the applications mentioned above is placed Web-GIS. Web-based GIS applications represent a fantastic tool to combine both GIS data and Internet.

By implementing GIS in almost all domains of the society, maps have become a common product in public administration, forestry, weather forecast, environmental protection, public health, transportation, tourism and education. In the last years, GIS has become a tool also in the business domain and location based services use GIS techniques in a large variety of big and small business. Since most of the entrepreneurs have discovered the benefits of location based services, GIS will have a constantly growth in economic domain too.

Concluding, GIS has a significant role in modern mapping. All over the world, GIS is a tool used in numerous fields. Even if you have access to numerous maps digitally displayed and you think that creating a map is a piece of cake for everyone, cartographers and GIS experts know better how to deal with maps and mapping steps. Finding the right data to be displayed on the maps is often a time consuming step and you may not always find the data that you want. But hiring the best cartographers and GIS experts may help you get the maps that you need.


Choose Scale Campaign to create your GIS maps

If you need a map for your business or for your project, or maybe you are interested in GIS services, then you should think seriously about using Scale Campaign and CSV2GEO services in GIS domain and mapping. Whether you need a printed map or a digital map to display on your company website, we have experts who are always ready to provide the map that you need.

Mapping domain is very diverse and each map is different. Consequently, since your map will be unique, here at Scale Campaign we want to know as many details regarding the map that you need for your project. Due to this, we offer you the opportunity to make the mapping process smoother and to complete our GIS maps order form with numerous details as you can give in order to provide you exactly what you expect.