Digital edition of Gaul/Raczyński map (1:125,000, 1807-1812)

Digital edition of Gaul/Raczyński map (1:125,000, 1807-1812)

Atlas Źródeł i Materiałów do Dziejów Dawnej Polski, 2022, no. 1
Tomasz Panecki, Institute of History Polish Academy of Sciences

„Mappa topograficzna woyskowa i statystyczna części Wielkopolski, która dziś Departament Poznański składa wydana przez Edwarda Raczyńskiego Posła Poznańskiego i jego kosztem nowo układana w roku 1807–1812” is called the Gaul/Raczyński map after the name of the cartographer (Ernest Gaul) and the founder (Edward Raczyński). It is a fairly typical topographic map from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, prepared in the form of a colour manuscript probably at a scale of 1:125,000, but never completed. Two sets of black and white photocopies (in the State Archive in Poznań and in the Raczyński Library in Poznań) have remained to this day, and the original was lost during World War II. The map has been digitally edited due to its significance for research on Grater Poland (pl. Wielkopolska) and the fact that it constitutes an interesting material providing a full catalogue of editorial problems of cartographic sources of this type1.

The work was a private initiative of Edward Raczyński (1786-1845): a detailed representation and – as the title suggests – a topographical, military and statistical map. The topographical and cartographic work was headed by Ernest Gaul (b. 1775): a surveyor, geodesist and cartographer from Wielkopolska. He was well prepared for this work, although – as map analysis has shown – he did not avoid certain mistakes. Gaul/Raczyński map was largely based on David Gilly’s map (1:150,000, 1802-1803), but some corrections were made, which were obviously the result of field measurements, such as a much more detailed picture of the relief, roads or shape of the built-up areas. The map remained unfinished and unpublished, but was quite accurate and detailed for its time.

The digital edition, the detailed documentation of which is included in the monograph2 (in Polish), consists of several interrelated components:

  1. Scans of the map sheets. One of the aims of the editing work was to restore them to their most probable original appearance, so sheets with reconstructed colours from analysis of other similar maps are also part of the edition. This part of the editing work was prepared within the project in cooperation with ArtiFacts
  2. The sheets were put together and georeferenced: they were fitted into the modern coordinate system, which makes it possible to virtually overlay the historic and modern map. The map has been georeferenced using Helmert transformation, which does not distort the image, preserving source proportions of lines and angles and fitting it to the contemporary coordinate system with an error. This error, for a map of that period, was not large and varied, depending on the sheet, from 229 to 502 metres.
  3. Spatial database of the most important elements of the map content, such as settlements, industrial facilities, roads and land cover. A total of 1598 settlements, 1908 buildings and constructions (e.g. windmills, mills, forester’s lodges), 468 industrial facilities (e.g. manors and brickyards) and 23 names of physiographic objects were indexed. The database also included main roads and selected surface features such as hydrography, woodland and marshland. These data can be downloaded as a GIS files.
  4. WebGIS application, which allows viewing the georeferenced map and cartographic data in the form of a visualised spatial database, as well as performing simple analyses.
  5. Data is also available in the form of spatial data services compliant with the Open Geospatial Consortium.
  6. Traditional print edition in the form of *.pdf file. The eight sheets of the map in colour version have been mosaicked and integrated into one large sheet. A selective index of toponyms has also been developed.
  1. The edition is a direct result of the project “Digital editions of old maps: perspectives and constraints on the example of Mappa topograficzna woyskowa i statystyczna części Wielkopolski (…)” funded by the National Science Centre (no. 2015/17/N/HS3/01267). Its aim was to simultaneously look at the editing of cartographic sources from the perspectives of cartography and history: a view intended to consider both cartographic research methods using computer methods and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the editing of historical sources with its principles of up to archetype, filiation, family tree and text editing methods.[]

  2. T. Panecki, Długie życie dawnych map. Opracowanie cyfrowej edycji mapy Gaula/Raczyńskiego (1:125 000, 1807-1812), Warszawa 2021.[]
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