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Methods for georeferencing and GIS applications of the maps and plans from the 16th century until 1990 are described. The results of georeferencing — derivatives of historical maps, show a high value and potential of usability for the studies of urban areas — for historical issues, and for more comprehensive planning solutions allowing better development and policy. The applicability of the georeferenced historical maps was explored according to time series analysis. The studied were the applications for the urban area of Ljubljana, Slovenia case study: observing the continuous changing of the river course of Ljubljanica river and railway network.

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In this paper old historical maps and the sheets of the Habsburg Military Surveys are analyzed to distinguish different terrace levels in the Great Hungarian Plain (GHP), and particulary in the Körös/Criş river system. The GHP is located in the Pannonian Basin, in the eastern part of Hungary, which is a very flat area. Prior to the river regulations, its meandering rivers (eg. the Tisza and Körös Rivers) flooded the lower areas and created marshlands. The method of the integrated analysis of these different maps was the georeference; to geometric fit the sheets from different sources. While the First Military Survey shows the original extents of these areas the Second Survey displays the situation of the environment at the time of the flood control works in the second half of the 19th century, also with the planned cutoffs. The maps show not only the rivers, but the settlements as well. During this period, these villages and towns became bigger, so they needed more and more agricultural area. They cleared the forests and dried out the marshlands to have more ploughlands. These land types can also be separated easily in the survey sheets. Two study areas were selected to show the effectiveness of environmental reconstruction at some local engineering surveys and the Military Surveys, too. The extents of the different elevation terraces are mapped with striking accuracy.

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The advantages brought by high resolution satellite data in activities related to flood mapping and flood monitoring are well know in the scientific community. The paper aims to prove that slighter older geospatial documents, such as historical maps, are also a valuable resource for cartographers and decision makers to achieve a better understanding of flood patterns and evolution. Some preparatory actions are needed in order to integrate the old maps into GIS environments for advanced analysis. This includes scanning, color enhancements, georeferencing, reprojection and metadata creation. To illustrate the process, the paper includes a real case scenario: the April 2006 Danube River flood. For one of the most affected sectors along the Danube, close to Rast village, three generations of historical maps (the Austrian 1:200 000 ‘degree maps’, the Romanian 1:20 000 ‘Lambert-Cholesky’ maps and the Soviet Union 1:100 000 ‘Gauss-Krüger’ maps) were processed and included in a large repository. At any time, the maps can be identified and accessed through open standard protocols like CSW and WMS. In this way, we were able to integrate and analyze the flood water masks, extracted from satellite data, along with the historical data sets. The results were very promising. It was possible to understand some flood patterns and to clearly demonstrate that, after the dike failure, the water filled up an area which in the past, before river regulation, was the natural Danube floodplain.

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Various spatial data sets of high quality and homogeneity allow a higher level of multidisciplinary research. The study is aimed at providing a clearer understanding of the technical and semantic aspects of the quality of historical maps, especially with respect to positional errors, through the georeferencing process. Georeferencing the system of historical map sheets with high precision over a large area is not easily incorporated into the less complicated standardised process. Significant problems may occur in rough mountainous regions, especially as many of the areas were not accessed at that time and therefore not surveyed. The standard process of georeferencing comprises mosaicking of singular map sheets to a seamless map, referencing with identical points, and applying an appropriate transformation method. The quality of georeferenced maps is assessed with statistical and visual parameters. The enhanced process additionally integrates descriptive (textual) information about the mapping processes, derivative georeferenced data sets as land use analysis, and Monte Carlo simulations. This approach allows a more detailed understanding of the quality and consequently improves a georeferencing process for any historical data sets. The First Military Survey maps of the Habsburg Monarchy (Josephine survey), produced between 1763 and 1787, were used as study data and the rugged Julian Alps of the Triglav National Park in Slovenia were employed as the study area.

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A method is presented in this paper for solving a practical problem: how to make georeferenced mosaic of a map series using ground control points and quadratic polynomial transformation for every individual map sheet, if we expect, that after georeferencing the edges of the transformed map sheets should fit together.To solve this problem we can use a constrained polynomial fit method. In this method we use least square adjustment to get the transformation parameters for every individual map sheets, and we define constrains, that the common edges of every two neighboring map sheet should transform similarly. Solving this equation we get the transformation parameters for every single map sheet. Using these parameters for transforming the map sheets, we get georeferenced maps, that automatically fit together in a GIS software.This method has been successfully applied for georeferencing 18 map sheets of the First Topographic Survey of the Habsburg Empire. The resulting georeferenced map has larger residual errors than the individually transformed map sheets, but in exchange for we get a seamless map mosaic, that is more accurate, than the graphically merged and transformed.

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This paper summarizes the early geological maps about Hungary with special respect to their color codes, surface symbol systems and map projections. The process from the ad hoc color usage of the earliest maps, through the influence of the color system proposed by the Bologna Geological Congress of 1881 to the symbol system of the modern maps is shown. Analysing the coordinate grids of these map products, the older ones can be rectified in equidistant conic or Cassini projections while the ones of Böckh and Koch and Lóczy et al. can be interpreted as both conic and Budapest-centered Stereographic projected. The ambiguity is because of the relatively low scale of the maps, enabling projection errors of several hundred meters without practical consequences.

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Tabula Hungariae (1528), created by Lazarus (Secretarius), is an almost 500 year-old map depicting the whole Pannonian Basin. It has been used for several geographic and regional science studies because of its highly valued information context. From geoscientific point of view this information can also be evaluated. In this contribution an attempt is made to analyse in some extent the paleo-hydrogeography presented in the map, reconsidering the approach of previous authors, assuming that the mapmaker did not make large, intolerable errors and the known problems of the cartographic implementation are rather exceptional.According to the map the major lakes had larger extents in the 16th century than today, even a large lake (Lake Becskerek) ceased to exist. Concerning the fluvial pattern, a detailed analysis is possible for the Danube. Important changes can be implied at the Danube Bend, and there was a stronger tendency of island formation (i.e., tendency towards braided style) downstream from the present day Budapest. In most of the cases the assumption of the depicted islands is feasible. The existence of a few paleo-islands not present today can be validated by historical sources as well. Furthermore, the river Sárvíz, today a less important watercourse, might have had more importance in the transport at that time, probably due to its larger water discharge.Summarizing the observations it seems that these are indications of larger discharge values and/or a wetter climate in the Central Pannonian Basin in the 16th century.

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The labelling system, the projection and the datum parameters of the sheets of the 1:75 000 scale Romanian topographic map series completed prior to World War I, are described in order to integrate them to GIS databases. The series has two zones, eastern and western, both on the Bonne projection with different parameters. The sheets from each zone should be handled in a slightly different way in order to rectify them. The eastern sheets can be rectified using the grid coordinates computed from the sheet labels of the corner points. In the case of the western zone sheets, the geographic coordinates are computed from the sheet labels or directly from the graticule corners reprojected on the respective Bonne projection. The abridged Molodenskyparameters for the datums of the two zones are also given. The rectified sheets integrated to a GIS database provide an interesting source of the natural and built environment of the early 20th century Romania.

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Preliminary attempts to georeference maps of early twentieth century made by the Military Geographic Institute (IGM, the Italian geodetic agency) for the city of Rome and its surroundings, reported residual errors larger than errors observed on similar maps. Previous studies carried out on one or two century older maps of the same area, showed similar or even smaller errors (Baiocchi and Lelo 2005).Six sheets of the “City of Rome and its surroundings” map in scale 1:5 000 dated 1908 have been studied. The identified errors can be referred to the different system of geodetic projection and geodetic datum or to the derivation of some details from maps at smaller scale, but in this case historic documents seem to suggest a different explanation.Parameters useful to perform the transformation of the geodetic systems used in historical maps to modern systems are not known; for this reason until now the various attempts of georeferencing maps of this type were based on collimation of points recognizable on modern cartographies such as corners of historical buildings. This method has often given unsatisfactory results; therefore it was decided to proceed by determining the parameters for the transformation of geodetic datum.The history of geodetic systems used in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century is complex and, in the past, this has led some researcher to misinterpretations. For this reason a full explanation of geodetic systems used in Italy in this period is reported below. Since the parameters of the projection used for the maps in our case study are not known for sure, the reprojection was considered the only way for a correct georeferencing.

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A key driver of biodiversity loss is human landscape transformation. Change detection and trajectory analysis are frequently applied methods for studying landscape change. We studied to what degree habitat-specific change detection and trajectory analysis provide different information on landscape change compared to the analysis with land-cover statistics. Our research was carried out at two spatial scales (regional, 1800 km2, 360 random points; local, 23 km2, polygon-based maps) in the Kiskunság, Hungary. Spatio-temporal databases were prepared using historical maps, aerial photos and satellite images from 1783, 1883, 1954, and 2009. Local expert knowledge of landscape history and recent vegetation was used during the historical reconstructions. We found large differences at both scales between land-cover based and habitat-specific analyses. Habitat-specific change detection revealed that grassland loss was not continuous in the different habitats, as land-cover based analysis implied. Ploughing affected open sand grasslands and sand steppes differently in the periods studied. It was only apparent from the habitat-specific analyses that from the grasslands only mesotrophic and Molinia meadows were relatively constant, up until the 1950s. The gradual increase in forest area revealed by land-cover CHD analyses was split into natural and anthropogenic processes by habitat-specific analyses. Habitat specific trajectory analysis also revealed ecologically important historical differences between habitats. Afforestation affected especially the open sand grasslands, whereas wetland habitats were relatively stable. The most important trajectory was the one in which closed sand steppes were ploughed during the 19th century, and remained arable fields until present. Fifty percent of the regional trajectories of 18th century open sand grasslands terminated in tree plantations at present, though 82% of the current open sand grasslands of the local site can be regarded as ancient. We concluded that dividing land-cover categories into finer habitat categories offered an opportunity for a more precise historical analysis of key habitats, and could reveal important ecological processes that cannot be reconstructed with land-cover based analyses. It also highlighted habitat-specific processes making natural and social drivers better interpretable. Information on the diversity of habitat-histories may serve as a basis for spatially more explicit conservation management.

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