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Survey Legend

230 Years of Survey Mapping

230 years ago, on the 21 June 1791, the Board of Ordnance was founded in order to survey the southern coast of England to help protect Britain from possible French invasion. 230 years later the Board of Ordnance is still going strong, although these days it goes by the name Ordnance Survey.

To celebrate its 230th birthday the Ordnance Survey has released Ordnance Survey Mapping Through the Centuries, an Esri story map which both recounts the history of Britain's national mapping agency and also allows you to explore some of its celebrated maps. These maps include the Board of Ordnance's very first map of Kent and the southern coast of England closest to France.

The Ordnance Survey Mapping Through the Centuries story map also explores the history of mapping over the last two hundred years and the technological changes in cartography during that time (from trig pillars to orbiting satellites)

During lockdown I have had a lot of fun exploring historical Ordnance Survey maps. In particular I have used old Ordnance Survey maps to explore how my neighborhood has developed and changed over the last 150 years.Using vintage Ordnance Survey maps has given me a far greater understanding of how my neighborhood has changed over the last two hundred years and also helped make my local walks far more interesting.

The National Library of Scotland's Ordnance Survey Map Finder is a great way to find and view vintage Ordnance Survey map of British towns and cities. Using the library's online map you can find old Ordnance Survey maps dating back as far as the 1860s. By exploring your neighborhood on these historical maps you can learn a lot about how an area has developed over time and about some of the local historical landmarks and buildings which have been replaced by more modern developments.

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