15.2 C
New York
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Buy now


How intrepid Victorian surveyors mapped the length and breadth of Britain

Today’s country walkers owe much to early Ordnance Survey cartographers carrying theodolites

SecondRitan’s Ramblerstriding up and down the valley, swearing by the Ordnance Survey orange explorer map (operating system). National mapping agencies are also important for managing land use and infrastructure. However, for centuries no one had attempted to systematically and accurately draw a complete map of the British Isles. until the 19th century, operating system Created the first comprehensive, detailed photograph of Britain.as today’s newspaper operating system The map is spliced ​​across the country in the form of puzzles, when operating system Started its cartographic project around 1800 and proceeded sheet by sheet. The task would take 80 years and pose considerable difficulties for the hundreds of surveyors employed to carry it out.We’ve pieced together these early maps, using an approach pioneered by the research project Living with Machines, to illustrate how the original effort was carried out operating systemrooted in military threats, adapted to keep up with a country transformed by the Industrial Revolution.

In an entertaining book, Maps of the Country, Rachel Hewitt tells the history of this first complete map.There is a clue to the original purpose operating system Institution name in map: “ordnance” refers to Artillery and Ammunition. operating system Originating from the Board of Arms, a government body established in Tudor times to help defend England. To repel the invaders, you must know where your land is. operating system Beginning around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when Europe was fragmented into an unmanageable set of alliances and Britain faced a constant military threat.

Reflecting fears of a possible invasion by the French, the first operating system The map overlays the Thames Estuary. This is the naval route to London and a highly vulnerable part of the country.

The next sheets run along the south coast: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. These areas were also vulnerable to attack by the French navy.

in bristol channel lundy i. It was delayed because, embarrassingly, it was investigated by an intern who put Lundy in the wrong place. The island had to be remeasured, and copper plates of the map planed and re-engraved.

When they worked in Wales, the English-speaking surveyors struggled with Welsh place names and messed up a lot. Croeswdig is mapped to “Crosswoodig” and Rhos-y-cribed to “Rosey cribelt”.

operating system A system was developed to determine how place names should be spelled. This includes checking with reputable members of the community. Landlords and clergy were considered reliable. Small farmers and smallholders are not, even if they have deep roots in an area.

The French threat has not been forgotten. A site on the coast near Fishguard, Wales, painted in 1819, is marked: “Here about 1000 French landed in 1797” to commemorate an attempted invasion.

operating systemThe path swept steadily northward. Lincolnshire, however, was investigated early and out of order. Landowners in the county are excited at the prospect of displaying maps of their estates and are willing to purchase 500 maps if it is a priority. They may have regretted it: operating system Still finding its footing, bugs crept in.The result is that, as operating system It was said to be “sloppy”.

By mid-century, the possibility of invasion had receded. Cartography in England was suspended in the 1840s. This is because surveyors were sent to Ireland to make accurate land tax maps.

In Scotland, surveying began in 1843 (the year economist first published). The survey proceeded from southwest to northeast over time.

this isle of lewis The map of the Outer Hebrides is out of order.James Matheson, who owned all of Lewis’ estate, paid operating system Map it early. He made a case that he needed these maps to improve agriculture on his land.

The pace of the Industrial Revolution—new railway lines, growing city centers and industrial areas—made maps obsolete before they were even engraved on copper plates for printing.Investigation slows down operating system Distracted from updating sheets.

For example, in West London, we can compare two versions of the same map. To keep pace with railroad developments, mapmakers sometimes carved new railroad lines directly on top of existing designs. The moving elements carved into the metal plate are stiff. A new line runs through the map label.

That’s not the only challenge railroads present.During the “railway mania,” rapidly expanding railroads moved from operating system: Nearly 300 employees left in 1845.

As work progresses, operating system Found a new audience. The Poor Law Commission was concerned with sanitation in crowded cities. It commissioned maps for places like Manchester, at larger scales and with street detail. operating system Progress slowed down as the surveyors were busy with other tasks.

In Scotland, delays were caused by disputes over the choice of cartographic scale and a lack of funds and staff, combined with difficulties with Highland terrain and weather. Surveyors may camp for weeks on the mountain, waiting for the mist to clear. Tents were blown away and surveyors complained about having to survive on porridge.

Field measurements are limited to spring and summer. Unfortunately, this overlaps with deer hunting season. The survey has run afoul of owners of the Highland Deer Forest, who don’t want surveyors on their land.

The final map of Scotland for Orkney and Shetland was published in 1882, 80 years after the project began with the first map of Kent.

The process of making these maps is slow, arduous and physically laborious.early operating system Surveyors carry heavy instruments across remote countryside. They began by laying out a preliminary site framework and taking highly accurate measurements. The skeleton is connected in a triangle mesh (see below). Then investigate further to fill in the details within the triangle. Laying out these triangles is done by first measuring the “baseline”: the straight-line distance between two points. operating system The first took place on what is now Hounslow Heath in west London. Once the surveyors know the distance between the two ends of the baseline, they choose a distant landmark (or “trigger point”) and measure the angle from the two ends of the baseline to the landmark. They calculated the distance between each point using trigonometry. Then they continue, creating more triangles starting from the first triangle, until they cover the entire area.

Major triangulations of Great Britain

Image: David Rumsey Collection

One of the instruments surveyors use to measure these angles is a custom-made theodolite. This “great” theodolite is made of shiny wood and metal, all measures one meter and weighs 90 kg. Landmarks visible from a distance tended to be on high ground; surveyors had to push the theodolite to the top of a hill and winch it up the towers of castles and cathedrals for surveying.

(Left) Large theodolite used operating system. (Right) A similar theodolite used in surveying India

Image: Internet Archive. getty.

The hard work paid off in the end. The French may never have invaded, but the maps helped Britain collect taxes, manage agriculture and plan infrastructure. As the country changes, so does the purpose of the map.Printed maps favored by country walkers just over 5% operating systemincome today. The agency is primarily a geographic data provider for governments and businesses. operating system For example, the data is being used to plan a network of electric vehicle chargers, helping the UK meet its net-zero emissions target.NHS use operating system Data to track and trace infections during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency’s data is used to monitor the health of UK peatlands, which is important for managing climate change.

Today’s mapping tools are very different from earlier technologies. operating systemIts toolkit includes satellites that fly over 250,000 square kilometers of the UK every day. More detailed aerial images are taken with airplanes and drones. But human surveyors haven’t disappeared entirely; operating system Continue to employ more than 200 people. They may not be as bulky as they used to be, but they still have to brave the British weather, rain or shine.

Sources: Coexisting with the Machine; National Library of Scotland; Charles Clouse Society; First Ordnance Survey by Roger Hellyer and Richard Oliver, 2015; Open Street Map

Map Images: British Library; David Rumsey Atlas; Ordnance Survey

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles