A large format optical scanner is a device that can read textual or graphical information from large paper sizes and reproduce it into a format that can be used by a computer. Most large format optical scanners can digitize data with width of up to 1000mm and 5000mm in length. Any document larger than this, can be scanned in parts and then pasted together to achieve the look of the original.
The working of a large format optical scanner is simple. It scans all data, irrespective of whether it is text or images and converts them into bitmaps. However, it is mainly used to scan images like record drawings, architectural plans, structural details, area maps, landscape designs, engineering drawings and building plans. As a result, it is not well adapted to needs of a textual document since a scanned text document cannot be edited directly. In order to enable editing in such scanned text, most large format optical scanners have an optical character recognition (OCR) system, which converts the texts into ASCII characters. A large format optical scanner enables a user to digitally clean old, dirty or torn drawings. A large format optical scanners with an OCR system is also able to enhance an image by adding or erasing text, removing or introducing new lines, or highlighting areas and many such functions.
Even though large format optical scanners are available in flatbed and overhead models the most common one is the sheet-fed scanner. Sheet-fed scanners are excellent for loose sheets of paper however they are less capable of handling bound documents, which are better off if scanned using a flat bed or overhead model. Most large format optical scanners are available in color as well as black and white models. Most of the large format optical scanners available in the market are able to store data in two formats, TIFF (Tag Image File Format) or PDF (Portable Document Format). Colortrac, Oce, Contex, Altek Corporation, ACTion Imaging solutions, ANAtech, CST, Vidar systems, and WideCom are some of the leading companies producing large format optical scanners
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