Knowledge Centre

There is much to learn from maps but care is required especially with regard to their limitations.

The subject of map accuracy can be tricky to define, the page on map survey accuracy aims to clarify this problem with regard to Great War maps and to outline what can be achieved using them. Added to the problems with map accuracy are the limitations of GPS positioning. The page on Maps and GPS describes to what extend a GPS position can be relied upon to help stand where Granddad stood.

The scale of a map reflects the amount and type of detail depicted and the graphical devices used to achieve that. The page on Map Scales & Legend outlines the simple issues but see also the page on the map collection to see a more detailed description of map scales in the Great War.

The page on map dates shows the problem with many of the maps in this collection. It is clearly desirable to be able to date any map but this is often not possible because it was not recorded at the time. It is possible to determine that date by cross referencing with events, units etc. but limits the use of the map as a source of primary evidence.

Many who research their family history will find the technical aspect of these maps can be a problem, not least, how to read a trench map. The family history page and others seeks to help in this respect.

It is hoped to display LiDAR images over which the Great War maps can be displayed. There are technical problems to be overcome but if solved, will allow users to see subtle changes in ground level which sometimes implies the position of otherwise invisible traces of the war. Likewise crop marks can show where trenches, mine craters etc. were located.

The history of British mapping during the war is significant. In the 1536 days of the war, the Royal Engineers and the Ordnance Survey went from woefully inadequate maps to a timely supply of superb, accurate and detailed maps.

There is a page allowing the download of extra items not easily available elsewhere.




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