Maps Recovered from UH Mānoa 2004 Flood

About the Collection

Immediately after the October 2004 flood, the preservation department worked quickly to store all the damaged maps in five freezer containers to prevent mold growth. The low temperature caused the mud and clay to freeze into fernlike (dendritic) patterns. To remove the mud, the maps were placed on spun polyester to prevent tearing, and washed in a large sink. Some maps had water-soluble ink, so conservation technicians grated erasers and used the crumbs to wipe away the mud. They were then stacked between boards and dried with a specialized fan. If the maps were still curled after drying, the staff used a humidifier dome to encase the paper and gradually introduce moisture to flatten the map. Maps that were ripped or torn were treated by leaf casting -- using paper pulp to fill the holes.

NOTICE: The images in this digital collection are made available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use only. It is the responsibility of the user to determine any copyright restrictions, obtain written permission, and pay any usage fees. Unauthorized use or redistribution of material from this collection is forbidden.

Links to guidelines for use and attribution of public domain maps are available from the Maps, Aerials, and GIS web site.

Note, this is a legacy exhibit prepared by the Preservation Department and Desktop Network Services of a selection of early and historical maps damaged in the 2004 library flood.

Digitization Procedures

Careful research went into the selection of a digital camera to meet the needs of documenting large maps. The Preservation Department explored a wide range of options available in the ever changing world of digital standards for documentation. We selected a Canon EOS-1D Mark II, a digital SLR with an eight megapixel CMOS sensor, which shoots at a maximum of 8.3 fps (frames per second). The selected camera would capture an image at a resolution equal to the highest resolution color film. The large image size of the Canon (36MB file) is very useful for documenting large items like maps. The other issue is that the camera has a full frame sensor. The imaging area has the same dimensions used by full framed 35mm SLRs, and allows the photographer to use the sharpest fixed lenses that are designed for the least amount of distortion and the most appropriate for copywork. The lenses have the same focal length as traditional film lenses making it more easy to move between digital and film, and a better selection of lenses. After discussion with the UHM Map consultant we felt we had selected the best camera available for documenting maps (in terms of image quality) and would also retain its value for a longer period of time.