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Topographic paper maps are a common support for geographical information. In the field of document analysis of this kind of support, this paper proposes an automatic approach to extract and recognize toponyms. We present a technique based on image segmentation and connected component processing. Different filtering stages ensure the consistency of plausible characters and strings. Detected text areas are used to feed an OCR software and the recognized words are analyzed and corrected. The main advantage of our technique is that no assumption is made about the character font, size or orientation. Experimental results obtained are encouraging in term of recognition efficiency.