Definition: Scanning

UN - Geographic Information Systems

A data-capture technique in which information on hard-copy documents (e.g., paper or mylar) is captured and converted into a digital image by means of a light-sensitive optical device. For map data, scanning is an alternative to data input by digitizing. After scanning a map, the image data are usually converted to vector format, using raster-to-vector conversion software or on-screen tracing of line and point features.
United Nations, "Handbook on Geospatial Infrastructure in Support of Census Activities", Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division, Studies in Methods, Series F No. 103, New York, 2009

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