About GeoPortOst

In Karten sind Zeiten aufbewahrt; Vergangenheiten, Gegenwarten, Zukünfte – je nachdem.

The map has become a graphic autobiography; it restores time to memory and it recreates for the inner eye the fabric and seasons of a former life.

About the Project

GeoPortOst was approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the funding programme for excellent research libraries in 2014. In 2017, the second project phase (until 2019) began with the expansion of the Geoportal by ingesting further thematic maps to Eastern and South Eastern Europe and by implementing a tool to link the maps with qualitative and/or quantitative context data.

Maps as intermedial semantic signs are able to concentrate and transfer a variety of information. This was early recognized by the Library of the Leibniz Institute of East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) and its predecessors. The result is the special Catalog of Hidden Maps. On 16,000 catalog cards you will find more than 27,000 so-called Hidden Maps. Hidden Maps are additional cartographic materials printed in monographs, journals or other edited volumes. The catalog is part of the data infrastructure of the Bavarian Library Network.

912 items were identified as public domain (as of 2016), digitized and enhanced with authority files. The map images were located by numerous expert volunteers in the GeoPortOst georeferencer. The spatial data were imported as metadata into the catalog and support geographic retrieval approaches allowing a visual and term independent search.

The combination of bibliographic records and their geographical references will create a cartographic information infrastructure representing maps, both in their geographical, as well as in their semantic dimension adequately. Modelled as digital information objects the maps can be freely aggregated and reused.

In the second phase of the project, GeoPortOst will be supplemented by retrodigitized maps, as well as by copyright protected born digitals. Thematic maps, which dominate the collection are always related to their context, and combine the map face and its data base; to create a relationship between them the software tool MapContextualizer will be developed. This data infrastructure will make it possible to enrich maps with metadata, geographical data and additionally with context data. By using semantic web and linked data technologies GeoPortOst will provide aggregated information for analysis and reuse.

Project Reports

The Collection

The digital collection of GeoPortOst includes 912 hidden maps mainly from works from the 19th and early 20th century.

Hidden maps used in the context of a narrative mostly visualize and compile various non-geographical information on cartographic basis. The collection therefore focusses on thematic maps.

Cartographic representations of historical, economic and cultural topics dominate the collection, but there are also maps from address books and from statistical yearbooks or atlases.

The collection covers an area from the Far East to East-Central and Southeastern Europe. Most maps show Russia (225 maps), the Balkans (105 maps) and Romania (63 maps).

Thematically representations of armed conflicts (218 maps of battles), statistical maps (82) and infrastructure maps (66) predominate.


The maps were digitized at Digitalisierungszentrum of the Regensburg University Library digitalisiert. The images are available as high resolution TIFFs. The images have been turned into tiles using the VIPS tool and zoomified. The visual representation is realized with the web mapping library OpenLayers. GeoPortOst uses the application Georeferencer for crowd sourced georeferencing developed by Klokan Technologies.


Project Management
Prof. Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
Tillmann Tegeler, M.A.
Project Staff
Hans Bauer, M.A.
Technical Realization
Ingo Frank, M.A.

Partner Insitutions

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg
Klokan Technologies