Mapping Venice 1500: Searching the De Barbari Map — Progress Report 1

As of the second week of March, the progress of our group is in line with the milestones and deadlines set out in the previous semester. According to our initial timeline (see Table 1 below), to date our work has consisted of compiling relevant resources in order to label the De Barbari map within the DH Canvas. These resources are listed in the next section. In addition, we have also divided the De Barbari map into six segments and printed out each segment in A0 size. These printouts will serve to facilitate labeling, the next step in our workflow. Each member of the group has been assigned with one or two map segments, and will work independently to identify as many features on the map as possible. At the end of the month, we will exchange map segments so that each member of the group has his segment verified by the other members.

Table 1: Proposed project timeline and milestones from DH1

Milestone Foreseen Deadline
Planning and Preparation December 8, 2015
Background research and compilation of relevant resources March 8, 2016
Identification of features from resources March 23, 2016
Annotation in DHCanvas March 30, 2016
Identification of missing features April 15, 2016
Annotation in DHCanvas April 22, 2016
Testing DHCanvas search engine on the labelled De Barbari map April 29, 2016
Label other important historical maps May 13, 2016
Final overall testing of DHCanvas with De Barbari map and other maps May 20, 2016
Write and finalize report End May 2016


Apart from the two key resources (website: www.tridente.ite/venetie/map/homem.htm and book: Venezia Città Mirabile) that were mentioned in our final report from last semester, we have found other new resources that would aid in our labeling of the De Barbari map. We have come across three different projects online that are somewhat similar to ours, and will likely serve as the primary resources for our first round of labelling. The main distinction between these initiatives and ours is that ours will be tied into a searchable database allowing us to create spatial linkages between old venetian documents and their historical place on the De Barbari map.

The first project [1] is a crowdsourcing initiative started by Jonathan Gross. The final goal of this project is to label all 103 bell towers on the De Barbari map. As of now, relatively few towers have been identified; but this project will undoubtedly provide some new information and will also serves as an interesting example of the potential for the crowdsourcing of information within the context of our project. The second project is one helmed by The Venice Project Center [2], of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. They have created a searchable De Barbari map, although numerous elements remain unnamed or are named incorrectly. The map (see Figure 1) shows the precise locations of demolished churches, as well as those that still stand, or have since been repurposed, bridges, islands, bell towers, canals, convents, fields, well heads, and mountains. Each of these features are stored in a vector format and some can even be referenced on other maps—for example Ludovici Ughi’s map of Venice from 1729.


Figure 1: Searchable De Barbari map by The Venice Project Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Finally, we will also be referring to works from a project out of Columbia University called Mapping the Art & Architecture of Renaissance Venice [3]. This project has built an interactive map from the De Barbari, where churches, palazzi, scuole, public buildings and spaces and modern structures have been identified. Additionally, a KML file for Google Earth with building plan layers and other information has been made freely available. This KML file indicates and identifies different features in Venice, and in some cases, even their evolution over time.  


[1] Gross, J. “Help Find All 103 Bell Towers In This 500 Year-Old Map Of Venice, Italy”. 2014. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

[2] Venice Project Center. “Venetian Historical Map Explorer”., 2013. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

[3] Rossand, D., et al. “Mapping Art and Architecture in Venice”. 2007. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.