Preserving and Restoring Historic Plans

April 12, 2024
2 min read
Featured Image

This week started off in a fun way. One of our wonderful clients requested that we digitize an ancient cemetery plan dated 1912! The paper was so old and used that it felt like cloth! There were holes and tears all over the entire sheet. The plan felt like it would fall apart with the slightest touch.

It seemed impossible to improve the quality of the plan. When I was asked, "Could it be done?" I took a good look at the plan, looked back, and said, "Yes, I can do it!" I took the plan back to my secret laboratory deep inside the office, behind a hidden door, and began to get to work.

Resurrecting this plan would require more than just ordinary tools. Despite its deteriorating state, I was confident that with the right equipment, we could not only salvage it but also enhance its quality.

With the plan face down, I began to get to work. My only tool was clear tape! I carefully evaluated every damaged area in the plan and started patching it up. After carefully and skillfully placing tape to cover the damaged areas, the old plan regained some strength. It was time for the moment of truth: High-Resolution Scanning.

After all this work, would this old plan pass through the scanner without damage, crinkling, or even getting eaten by the scanner? There was no way to tell except to go for it. I had to recruit one of my associates to assist in the scanning process to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. 

600 dots per inch!

The goal was to scan at high resolution for editing later in Photoshop.

The process was slow, and then... SUCCESS! We did it. We now had a 600 dpi high-resolution file to fix up.

Now that I had a high-resolution image file, it was time to do some Photoshop magic. After a short bit of work, applying special Photoshop filters and some old-school techniques, we went from an old-looking, damaged plan to a new, cleaned-up, restored, usable plan. 

It just goes to show you that old things can still be of much use with a little TLC.

Old Plan Before Cleanup Old Plan After Cleanup

Before and After



West Chester

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-918-9002
Fax: 610-918-9003


5020 Ritter Road #203 Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

A Howell Company

53 Old Solomons Island Rd. Suite I
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-266-1160

A Howell Company

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-692-7007

Copyright © 2024 Howell Engineering. Howell Surveying. Howell Environmental. Terrain.   Terms & Conditions   Privacy Policy   Site by Smithworks