GB1900: Extracting benchmark datasets from historic maps

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


GB1900 partnered Portsmouth Geography’s GB Historical GIS team with the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. It was unfunded, each partner contributing staff time and existing resources, but used software developed by the earlier Cymru1900 project funded by the Welsh Assembly.

The Ordnance Survey’s second edition County Series 6-inch to one mile maps, published between 1888 and 1913, were the earliest large scale maps to cover the whole of Britain with a consistent projection. Between September 2016 and January 2018 over 1,200 online volunteers worked with us to transcribe all the text on these maps, 2.55 million geo-referenced text strings, creating a unique description of Britain a century ago.
We will explain the impact on volunteers involved in GB1900 through the research on motivation we conducted via an online questionnaire and in-depth telephone interviews and the poster will also cover some of the planned uses for the GB1900 gazetteer:
• Its inclusion in an updated version of the statutory list of historic place names created on behalf of the Welsh government which developers must consult.
• The Ramblers Association using the footpath labels as a first step to identifying and researching new claims for historic rights of way to register before the 2026 deadline.
• The implications of physical environmental concerns such as recording locations described as a flood risk historically.
• Inclusion in our own popular local history website where the gazetteer can be searched to see both the historic map the name came from and links to the historical units it lay within. The GB1900 data themselves can be downloaded from this website in three different formats under Creative Commons licences:
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2018
EventResearch and Innovation Conference - University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jun 201811 Jun 2018


ConferenceResearch and Innovation Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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