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Map Snapper - new digital map technology on the go

map reading in the countryside
map reading in the countryside

An innovative new system from the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and Ordnance Survey makes paper maps more flexible by combining the traditional map with the vast resources of the Web.

Map Snapper allows individuals to take a photograph of a section of a map with a camera phone. This verifies the location and returns an electronic image with points of interest added which the user can investigate further by clicking on them.

Dr Jonathan Hare and Professor Paul Lewis at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) worked with Layla Gordon and Glen Hart from Ordnance Survey’s Research Labs to develop Map Snapper.

‘For example, if I am out in the country heading for Salisbury, the electronic map could give me the location of hotels for me to click on to find out more and could also tell me if there are any festivals or exhibitions going on there,’ Professor Lewis commented.

The team used image matching technology to retrieve the electronic images and make them available digitally. The technology now exists for digital images of this type to become a reality and the initiative could provide commercial opportunities for companies who want to advertise their features.

‘Map Snapper clearly demonstrates the power of new digital content, and yet puts it into the hands of the traditional paper map user’, said David Overton, Exploitation Manager at Ordnance Survey. ‘As an organisation deeply involved in both, we find this project very inspiring.’

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 26 Oct 2006.