For decades, public utility providers and municipalities have used paper maps to maintain and keep track of their assets. Too often, these bulky, hard copy maps are still being utilized today, but many of SSM’s clients are opting to digitize their utility maps. Advancements in GIS software and mobile applications have recently provided the ability to access maps and data on the go. This allows managers and operators to access asset locations, specifications, photos, and customized maps and applications wherever they take their mobile device. For many, digitizing old maps is well worth the process.
The process begins by scanning the paper maps. Once the maps are scanned as an image file, they are then georeferenced using GIS software. This assigns real world coordinates to the image, allowing the features to be traced as a shapefile. Depending on how old the map is, or how accurately it was originally created, some inferring may be required to correctly place the data. After the data is digitized, it’s best to verify the locations, as things may have changed since the maps were originally created. Now you can access the data whenever and wherever you need it via computer, smartphone and/or tablet.