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In cartography, rubbersheeting refers to the process by which a layer is distorted to allow it to be seamlessly joined to an adjacent geographic layer of matching imagery, such as satellite imagery (most commonly vector cartographic data) which are digital maps. This is sometimes referred to as image-to-vector conflation. Often this has to be done when layers created from adjacent map sheets are joined together. Rubber-sheeting is necessary because the imagery and the vector data will rarely match up correctly due to various reasons, such as the angle at which the image was taken, the curvature of the surface of the earth, minor movements in the imaging platform (such as a satellite or aircraft), and other errors in the imagery.

Applications in history and historical geography[edit]

Rubbersheeting is a useful technique in HGIS, where it is used to digitize and add old maps as feature layers in a modern GIS. Before aerial photography arrived, most maps were highly inaccurate by modern standards. Rubbersheeting may improve the value of such sources and make them easier to compare to modern maps.


See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • White, Jr., Marvin S.; Griffin, Patricia. "Piecewise Linear Rubber-Sheet Map Transformation". The American Cartographer. 12 (2): 123–131. doi:10.1559/152304085783915063.
  • "Image Correction". Geog 482: The Nature of Geographic Information. Penn State Department of Geography. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • "Fundamentals of georeferencing a raster dataset". ArcGIS for Desktop. ESRI. Retrieved 29 May 2015.