wanted: digitizing paper charts

wanted: digitizing paper charts

Post by Brett Wu » Mon, 09 Jan 1995 11:50:11



Please forgive the large number of newsgroups; I couldn't find
a good group for this kind of question.  I hope your news reader
is smart enough to present you the article only once.

I have a client who wants to process several thousand paper charts
every month.  The paper charts are round pieces of paper that
rotate slowly while a pen scribbles a track on it as whatever is
being measured changes value.  Once the charts have been removed,
we need some way of reading the pen track and producing a computer
file of measurement values over time.

The obvious approach is to use a flat-bed scanner, but I haven't
been able to find anything like the software needed to translate
the scanned image.  *Any* help at all, would be greatly appreciated.
Have you heard of any companies or commercial software for any
platform that does anything like this?  If I have to write the
program myself, do you know of any books or algorithms that will
help me with the technical gotchyas (detailed below)?  Do you
know of some tricky technique to simplify the whole exercise?

For legal and technical reasons, it's not possible to directly digitize
the analog measurement while the pen is marking the chart; no
electronics can be attached to the charting mechanism.  The charts
are printed with a fine grid and numbers and text printed in green.  
The pen ink is normally blue.  It may be possible to print our own
special forms, or use different ink in the pens.  When the pen
is rising or falling quickly the track sometimes skips on the paper.  
Other times the ink blotches.  Sometimes the measurement varies
rapidly between two values, leaving a wide scribble track.
There are often two pens whose measurements occasional cross.
Sometimes there are dirt smudges and pened notes on the paper.

Again, any pointers *at all*, is greatly appreciated.

Please e-mail your responses as I pay for my news and haven't been
able to afford to these groups.  I will summarize if requested.
--

Box 1251-U, Pincher Creek, Alberta T0K 1W0, CANADA Tel:+1 403 627-2460

What is the meaning of life?!  Yes.

 
 
 

1. wanted: digitizing paper charts

Please forgive the large number of newsgroups; I couldn't find
a good group for this kind of question.  I hope your news reader
is smart enough to present you the article only once.

I have a client who wants to process several thousand paper charts
every month.  The paper charts are round pieces of paper that
rotate slowly while a pen scribbles a track on it as whatever is
being measured changes value.  Once the charts have been removed,
we need some way of reading the pen track and producing a computer
file of measurement values over time.

The obvious approach is to use a flat-bed scanner, but I haven't
been able to find anything like the software needed to translate
the scanned image.  *Any* help at all, would be greatly appreciated.
Have you heard of any companies or commercial software for any
platform that does anything like this?  If I have to write the
program myself, do you know of any books or algorithms that will
help me with the technical gotchyas (detailed below)?  Do you
know of some tricky technique to simplify the whole exercise?

For legal and technical reasons, it's not possible to directly digitize
the analog measurement while the pen is marking the chart; no
electronics can be attached to the charting mechanism.  The charts
are printed with a fine grid and numbers and text printed in green.  
The pen ink is normally blue.  It may be possible to print our own
special forms, or use different ink in the pens.  When the pen
is rising or falling quickly the track sometimes skips on the paper.  
Other times the ink blotches.  Sometimes the measurement varies
rapidly between two values, leaving a wide scribble track.
There are often two pens whose measurements occasional cross.
Sometimes there are dirt smudges and pened notes on the paper.

Again, any pointers *at all*, is greatly appreciated.

Please e-mail your responses as I pay for my news and haven't been
able to afford to these groups.  I will summarize if requested.
--

Box 1251-U, Pincher Creek, Alberta T0K 1W0, CANADA Tel:+1 403 627-2460

What is the meaning of life?!  Yes.

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