Historic maps go online

Historic maps provide new look at Scotland's past

A new window has been opened into Scotland's past to show how the country looked in Victorian times and in the 1940s.

Historic maps which show details of streets, buildings, rivers and roads are now available to search free online through a partnership between the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and Wilbourn Associates, a leading firm of chartered environmental surveyors. Another series of thematic maps of Great Britain from 1944-1960 is also being made available.

They allow visitors to the NLS website to view the same place at different times in the past and to see how things have changed over time. They can even be viewed on top of Google satellite and map images to bring everything bang up to date: see the NLS-Wilbourn Associates geo-referenced maps.

Chris Fleet, Senior Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland, said: 'These new maps cover all of Scotland and are very detailed with a scale of one inch to the mile. People can search for the street their grandparents lived in or see how 19th century farmland has turned into today's suburbs.

'We are immensely grateful for the support of Wilbourn Associates which has allowed us to scan and georeference these maps and make them available on the NLS website. We are confident they will prove to be a popular addition to our online map library which is one of the biggest in the world.'

The Scottish maps were produced in the 1890s and 1940s and the British maps are themed and include features such as administrative areas, farming, geology, iron and steel, land classification and utilisation, population, railways, rainfall, and roads.

Philip Wilbourn, CEO of Wilbourn Associates and author of Professional Guidance for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: 'We are delighted that this public-private partnership will result in important mapping information being made publicly available. Maps can give us an insight into the past by telling us how land has been used and as well as being fascinating in their own right they are an essential aid in business. We are looking forward to working with the map library at the National Library of Scotland to put many more series of maps into the public domain.'


22 February 2012

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