The SeMap project puts on the map the cultural assets housed in more than 100 Spanish museums


The ARTEC group of the Institute of Robotics and Information and Communication Technologies (IRTIC), and the Department of Art History of the University of Valencia (UV) have carried out the SeMap project, which consists of the development of an interactive space-time map that collects around 300,000 objects from more than 100 Spanish museums.

These are museums associated with the CERES database, the online catalogue that compiles a selection of cultural assets from the collections of the Digital Network of Museum Collections in Spain.

In this way, the tool visually offers the physical situation and the production date of the pieces it compiles, with various search filters by categories, and establishes semantic links between them. “Thanks to these characteristics, anyone can intuitively access both cultural objects and the significant relationships between them and their properties, regardless of the collection from which they come”, indicates the ARTEC group researcher and project director, Cristina Portalés.

The map indicates the origin and the location of the objects, as well as a photo-summary of the piece, and provides the spatial distribution of 250,000 results of which its location is known, with which it can interact. It also makes it easy to search for words and filter by specific topics.

The work group has the experience provided by the SILKNOW initiative, focused on compiling the silk heritage in a digital repository with more than 40,000 objects. Thus, it takes a further step in the consolidation of a line of research; in fact, it has already presented the SeMap 2.0 proposal.

The tool has been tested and positively evaluated by students of the Art History master’s degree at the University of Valencia and also by high school students from Castellón.

The project is funded through the BBVA Foundation, under the call “Grants for Scientific Research Teams”, in the area “Digital Humanities”, in 2019. The initiative also has a collaboration agreement with the Area of Collections of the General Subdirectorate of State Museums, which has provided the data of the artistic pieces and participates in the validation of the results.

After starting in April 2020, the action ends in January, after 21 months of work. In the future, after completing the modernisation of the CERES database, the subdirectorate intends to integrate SeMap into the platform.