Locating past places in Britain: creating and evaluating the GB1900 Gazetteer

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The GB1900 project used crowd-sourcing to transcribe all text from the second edition County Series six inch to one mile maps of Great Britain, published between 1888 and 1914, a total of c. 2.55m. geo-located text strings. These locate almost every farm and about half of all street names. The paper describes the final datasets, and how they were created. It then presents a detailed comparison with five other freely-available gazetteers of Britain: Geonames, the US government’s NGA gazetteer, the Ordnance Survey’s 50k and Open Names datasets, and the English Place Name Survey’s DEEP project. Comparisons are presented at national level and, more qualitatively, for an area of eastern England. The results demonstrate both GB1900’s greater volume of geo-located entries and its ability to locate places and features identified in other historical sources beyond administrative hierarchies: this is the most detailed historical gazetteer, certainly for Britain and possibly for anywhere. The final online system is described, including its integration of place name histories from DEEP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-94
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019


  • GB1900
  • locations
  • local history
  • gazetteer
  • place names


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