Title:The Digital-Signs in the Map of Mexico 1550
Authors:Lily Diaz, Acu
Publication:MW2010: Museums and the Web 2010

In 1997 the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design, the Helsinki University of Technology, and the University of Uppsala’s Carolina Redviva Library, started a project aiming the digitization of an ancient Map of Mexico dated circa 1550. The original is a 114 cm x 78 cm painted parchment that showcases two different cultures and their conceptual forms of representation: ?European-Renaissance/map-landscape? and ?Mesoamerican Toponymical-Signs? (Le?n Portilla & Aguilera 1986). The map depicts places and activities in what is known today as Mexico City by the year 1550, just some decades after the ancient empire of the Aztecs, the city of ?Tenochtitlan?, was conquered by the Spaniards in 1521.

The demonstration of the Map of Mexico 1550 shows the use of ImaNote (Image Annotation Notebook), a web-based multi-user tool that allows for displaying, annotating and linking to multimedia resources. The tool also allows the creation of communities of users that can link as well as sort through annotations.

The “Digital-Signs of the Map of Mexico 1550” project can be used to bring further possibilities of scholarship around the Mesoamerican culture, since the annotations make easier to disseminate the analysis of the signs. These digital-signs can also be used as interpretation devices by archeologists, historians and researchers. In addition, they work as an image-gallery helping to visualize the formal characteristics of this kind of Indigenous writing. The tool, with its associated methods also allows comparing the signs with some other toponymical signs existing on other Mesoamerican maps, codex, stone monuments, and Colonial manuscripts.