What is Digitization? - Cartographic Digitization in GIS

Digitization is the process of delineating spatial elements present on a map using base maps, creating them as digital vectors in a digital environment.

Digitization holds a significant role within Geographic Information Systems. Its primary rationale lies in the conversion of data into an intelligent format through the digitization process. Analyses cannot be performed on tile maps, paper maps, or image-format maps. With the digitization of these maps, spatial elements are delineated, transformed into vector data format, and linked to attribute pages for various analytical or querying tasks to be conducted. This process yields intelligent data acquisition.

Among the most exemplary endeavors related to data intelligence is the Türk Telekom Geographic Information Systems (TTGIS) Project, undertaken by Başarsoft.

Following pilot studies utilizing MapInfo Pro software for data production, fiber project, it was concluded that establishing a central MapInfo-based GIS system configuration serves as the most suitable approach for the entire Turkey. The TTGIS Project, crafted for this purpose, facilitates the digitization of network inventories across Turkey, transforming inventory data into an intelligent format, enabling analyses, queries, and reports. For instance, based on the data resulting from the digitization process, one can swiftly query and generate thematic maps according to specific criteria, such as installation dates, lengths, maintenance dates, costs, internet speeds, the impact of any internet outages on settlements, and numerous other criteria.

Cartographic digitization thus assumes a pivotal role in leveraging the capabilities of GIS technology, data management, analysis, and visualization.

How is Cartographic Digitization Done?

A digitized map accurately represents the features and boundaries of a map by superimposing points, lines, and vector polygons onto a raster image. Attribute data, such as names or classifications, can be associated with the digitized features.

  1. Scanning or Imaging: The initial step in the cartographic digitization process involves scanning or imaging the physical map to create a high-resolution raster image. This image forms the basis for subsequent digitization processes.
  2. Georeferencing: Georeferencing is crucial for determining spatial coordinates on the map. This involves aligning the raster image with known geographic reference points or assigning coordinate values to the image using specialized software like MapInfo Pro. This step ensures accurate positioning of digitized map data.
  3. Digitization Tools: Geographic information system (GIS) applications or computer-aided design (CAD) software offer digitization tools. These tools encompass tools for creating points, lines, polygons, and adding text and attribute information. Drawing processes involve object creation, usage of drawing tools, object editing, merging and splitting objects, creating areas from line objects, topological control, among other functions, all achievable in the MapInfo Pro program.
  4. Feature Extraction: Through digitization tools, businesses can emphasize features such as roads, buildings, boundaries, water bodies, and other map elements. This process involves creating points, lines, or polygons to accurately represent the map’s features and spatial relationships.
  1. Attribute Assignment: In addition to feature extraction, names, classifications, or other attribute data associated with map features can be assigned or linked to digitized elements. This enhances the usability and analytical capabilities of the digitized map.
  2. Quality Control: Quality control measures ensure the accuracy and completeness of the digitized map. This may involve comparing digitized features with the original map, verifying attribute data, and resolving any inconsistencies or errors.
  3. Data Integration: The digitized map can be integrated with other spatial datasets and layers within a GIS environment. This enables seamless analysis, visualization, and overlay of diverse data sources, ultimately enhancing the overall functionality of the digitized map.

Raster Data Digitization

Raster data digitization entails the conversion of spatial elements through elements like aerial photographs, satellite images, scanned maps, etc., into vector data. During the digitization process, drawings are carried out using base maps with raster data types. One frequently used raster base data is map sheets.

How to Perform Map Sheet Digitization?

You can carry out digitization processes using the MapInfo Pro program. By following the steps demonstrated in the video provided below, you can engage in the digitization process.

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