Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the menu described in the Help?
Please Right Click on the map.

I have found a map in the drop down box but it is not displayed. Why is that?
The maps on the site consist of a huge number of small map tiles, one set of tiles for each zoom level. Zoom levels vary between map scales so it maybe that the zoom level your map is being displayed at is not appropriate. Try zooming in or out with the mouse wheel.

I am a member of the WFA but I cannot find a login link on the site. Where is it?
WFA members can access their extra features by opening TrenchMapper from the member's page on the WFA website.

I have found what looks like a trench map reference, how do I find where that is?
Before you can find it directly, you must make sure it is complete. The page How to read a Trench Map has more information. An incomplete refence will point to a number of locations on the Western Front. In the box in the left panel, type or paste the complete reference and click Convert. The system will calculate the latitude and longitude and jump to it. If a Great War map is available, that will be shown. If there is more than one map available, use the drop down box at the bottom of the left panel to see a selection.

My great grandfather died at Passchendaele but a search in Modern Places in your Advanced Find shows no results.
Passchendaele is the spelling found in many Great War documents but the modern spelling is Passendale. A search under All Maps for Passchendaele yields numerous results using the old spelling. Many places on the Western Front now have simplified or more modern spellings. It is not possible in a project of this kind to cover all those changes. Users are encouraged to use map services such as Google or Bing Maps, these can often find places using the old spellings. Places near the border of France and Belgium also change spelling, an example would be Ypres or Ieper.

Will TrenchMapper work on my phone?
Whilst most features will work, the small screen of such devices can be a limitation as can the data download requirement for the map tiles. The TrenchMapper team are fully engaged on developing the site for desktop machines and tablets but will in due course consider the problems posed by using smaller devices.

I am trying to find La Bassée but there does not seem to be very many results.
Accented characters are not always entered into the catalogues this site uses, we suggest you try the search again with no accented characters.

Can I find Black Alley where my grandfather's unit served?
Yes. Under Advanced Find, choose Gazetteer and enter the name. The Take Me There button will show the place, its latitude and longitude and trench map reference.

I searched for Factory Trench but I only get a result a long way from where I think it is.
The catalogue used in this project is very large but not complete. There are two more known locations of a Factory Trench. As the project progresses, our list will be extended, we have plans to make the list as comprehensive as possible.

I found Dewdrop Trench in your list but the map does not show it.
Trenches dug later in the war will not be shown on earlier maps. The trench name catalogue does not record the date of the map on which it was found. As the project progresses, our list will be extended, we have plans to make the list as comprehensive as possible.

Why can't I just click on a map to buy it?
Because this site is not primarily one intended for selling, our main focus is remembrance and the display of maps and facilities to enable that. We do have a shopping cart and many of the large number of maps in the collection can be obtained for a modest change or free (up to a certain limit per month) for WFA members.

I have found an aerial photograph but it does not seem to fit the modern map in all places.
There are numerous problems to overcome when fitting or georeferencing an old artifact like a photograph to a modern map. The item may have become distorted before being scanned or it may not have been accurate when it was made. In addition, many roads, railways and even canals are not in the same place now as in the Great War. Post war reconstruction was difficult. The maps and photographs on the site have been georeferenced with great care using very sophisticated software. It is not very likely that a better fit can be achieved.

I zoomed right in on a map and it does not fit the modern map very well but it does when zoomed out. Why is that?
There are several reasons. The maps of the Great War were produced in a hurry which means they were not as accurate as possible even for the time and not as accurate as modern maps. Those of 1915 were drawn to an even lower accuracy. This does not show when zoomed out but does when looked at closely. In addition, most of the maps were drawn in the Bonne projection whereas the modern maps used here as in Mercator projection. The conversion from one to the other is not perfect.

I tried to use Track Location but this does not work properly.
Some people prefer to turn off location tracking on their computers, in which case, Track Location wil not work and you get the message "Geolocation error: User denied geolocation prompt.". Track location is designed for users on devices with a GPS, such as some iPads and Android tablets. These generally offer good location accuracy.

The list shown under Find Maps shows items I do not understand like GSGS 3062. How can I find out more?
See the Map Collection page in the Knowledge Centre. There are many different kinds of map available in this site and the list will increase over time. GSGS 3062 and other such terms often refer to map scale. This is important because it implies the level of detail displayed, large scale maps show lots of detail for troops on the ground, small scale maps show strategic information.

I am trying to find a map of November 1917 covering Ypres. How can I do that?
Having found the place and the resulting drop down list of the maps available in the left hand panel, there may be no map for that date but two important points must be noted.
1. On many maps there was no date recorded and on some the only date was the "base map" date, i.e. when the underlying topography was drawn rather than when any further information was overprinted. That could be a year or more before it was used so may be misleading. For more information see the Map Dates page in the Knowledge Centre.
2. Not all the maps in the collection have been georeferenced. As the project progresses, our list will be extended, we have plans to make the list as comprehensive as possible.

I have heard that it is possible to look inside some buildings on your site. Is that true?
Yes. As an example, under Modern Streetscape, search for Ypres. In the drop down down, choose Sint-Maartenskathderal. When taken there, at the tip of icon, right click and choose Street View.

I have heard that you can see into the tunnels at Vimy on your site. Is that true?
Yes. Use the trench map reference 36C.S.22.c.18.18. When taken there, at the tip of icon, right click and choose Street View. Proceed underground.

My grandfather served with 1st Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment during the war. Can I find out where they served?
Not on this site. We provide maps and other resources but for unit histories, other sites may be helpful such as The Long Long Trail, TNA (National Archives at Kew) and others.

I am really interested in maps. Can I join the TrenchMapper team?
We are keen to enlist the help of volunteers to georeference the rest of the maps in our collection. If you right click the map screen and choose My Device it will show the number of maps currently available but we have in total approximately 7,000 maps in the collection. If you think that would be of interest, please email

TrenchMapper does not work for me, I have an old desktop computer.
TrenchMapper is not supported on the Internet Explorer browser or older versions of Safari. In addition, TrenchMapper may not display certain characters used as part of alert, advisory, error and warning messages.





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