Boundary maps by themselves provide a framework for statistical data, but as soon as you start zooming in and lose sight of Britain's coastline it becomes very hard to say what part of the country you are looking at. Partly to provide context for our boundary maps, and partly because they are of great interest in themselves, we have also computerised three complete sets of one inch to the mile maps of Great Britain, plus roughly contemporary smaller scale maps allowing you to start with a map of the whole country and then zoom in.
- Our earliest maps are the Ordnance Survey First Series. These were published slowly over the 19th century, as the OS worked their way from south to north, and while this was happening they updated the earlier sheets by directly revising the printing plates to add new features: the different printings are called States, rather than editions. We had access to the British Library's map collection, and our approach was to use the earliest available state for each sheet, rather than the set closest together in date. Our smallest scale "19th century" map is from 1812 and is by Robert Wilkinson, at a scale of 1:1,625,000; British Library shelfmark Maps 177.d.2.(15.). Our intermediate scale map is Smith's New Map of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: on which the Turnpike, and Principal Cross Roads, are carefully described. Particularly distinguishing the Route of the mail Coaches, the course of the Rivers, and Navigable canals; ..., published in 1806 at a scale of 1:633,600 (British Library shelfmark Maps 177.d.2.(14.)). This is topographically inaccurate, so "clicking through" to the First Series maps can be unreliable.
- The Ordnance Survey New Popular Edition was published in the late 1940s, and was the first set of one inch-to-the-mile maps to include the modern National Grid lines (British Library shelfmark Maps 1175.(264.)). It is also the most recent edition to come out of Crown Copyright. Scotland is covered by the Scotland Popular Edition with National Grid; British Library shelfmark Maps 7330.(178.). For now, our mapping of the Isle of Man in fact comes from the earlier Popular Edition. Our smallest scale 20th century map is New Map of the British Isles. Produced under the direction of A. Gross, (London: Geographia, 1921); British Library shelfmark Maps 1080.(70.). The intermediate mapping is the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain. Scale of ten statute miles to one inch. 1 : 633 600 maps from 1904; British Library shelfmark Maps 1125.(14.).
- Our land use mapping is described in the next section.
- We also include two sets of European historical maps created by the British War Office, the AMS 1202 and GSGS 2957 maps published in 1957-8 at a scale of 1:4,000,000 and the GSGS 4072 maps published in the 1940s at a scale of 1:500,000.
- As well as the continuous map mosaics described above, our map library also provides access to images of individual map sheets, complete with all the information around the edge of each sheet. These include all the individual sheets included in the mosaics, but also a large collection of administrative boundary maps which could not be included in the mosaics, including all the maps of Parliamentary Constituencies in the Boundary Commission reports of 1832, 1868, 1885 and 1917, and several sets of the Ordnance Survey's County Diagrams.
- We cannot provide modern Ordnance Survey mapping because of its cost, but we do provide access to Open Street Map as an alternative backcloth.