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Mass digitisation of pinned insects


A novel automatic imaging line for pinned insects and other small objects has been taken in production at Digitarium. Using the imaging line, an entire beetle collection of 15,000 specimens was digitised in two months.

The insect line is a miniaturised version of a larger system designed by Digitarium for herbarium sheets and other large flat objects. Using the insect line two operators can image in one working day about 500 pinned insects and their labels.

The job of the operators is to place the insects in special small imaging trays, which have been produced with a 3D printer, and later return the specimens to collection boxes. The rest is automatic. The line is equipped with two cameras.

The beetle collection used for this benchmark test was collected by Gunnar Blomqvist of Joutseno, Finland. It comprises about two thirds of all Coleoptera species found in Finland, including about one hundred threatened species.

During the digitisation process, the collection was disassembled from its original cabinets, and organised in units for inclusion in the large systematic collection of the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

The accession notebooks of Gunnar Blomqvist have been digitised and databased already earlier. The next steps include linking the data from accession books with each specimen.

You can browse and search the notebooks of Gunnar Blomqvist and other collectors on the pages of the Finnish Museum of Natural History. You can also query the database of all accession books, which covers over one million specimens through here.

See the below video on the operation of the insect imaging line.

From January 2015 mass digitisation of insects is available as commercial service from Digitarium. It can be customised for the purposes of the customer and for various sample types. See the web pages of our digitisation services, and ask for a quote!