We are very lucky to have persuaded Christopher Fleet of the National Library of Scotland to write a guest blog for us……
The National Library of Scotland has just released a new website, allowing georeferenced thematic maps of Great Britain in the 1940s and 1950s to be browsed.
The Ordnance Survey Planning Maps Series was initiated during the 1940s, aiming to form a survey of national life and resources, particularly to support the war effort and post-war reconstruction. The base maps cover Great Britainon two sheets at a scale of 1:625,000, overlaid with the British National Grid.
The main themes shown on the maps illustrate a broad range of natural and man-made subjects. These include Administrative Areas, Coal and Iron, Farming, Geology, Land Classification and Land Utilisation, Limestone, Local Accessibility, Population Density and Population Change, Railways, Rainfall, and Roads.
Through georeferencing, the maps can now be easily compared to modern maps, including Google maps and satellite images, through a transparency slider. Searching is also possible by a gazetteer and Grid Reference. The different thematic maps can then be viewed successively for any particular place.
The website also includes Further information about the Planning Maps series, along with a set of Explanatory Texts, published at the time to explain the compilation of the maps. These often have further details of how the thematic content was obtained and aggregated, and sometimes include additional statistical information.
The OS ten mile Planning Maps series can be viewed at: http://geo.nls.uk/search/ten_mile/