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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Range of online historical NI maps in development

A new online map shop for Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) has been officially launched in Belfast, with Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA doing the honours.

As you'd expect, the new site offers OSNI's detailed and up-to-date maps for all six counties of Northern Ireland and they're available as both paper products and as downloadable digital products.

Very useful, for sure, but of particular interest to Irish family historians is news of a range of historical maps now in development.

Kickstarting this new facility, the first Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s have already been added to the site.

They're wonderful. At six inches to one mile, the detail is fabulous, with each dwelling and every typographical feature noted. I've been getting lost in the back lanes of Northern Ireland for the last hour or so, zooming in and out to my little heart's content. And I don't even have any family connections with the North!

As far as I can tell, there's no purchasing mechanism for downloads of the 1830s maps, but you can view them without charge. Presumably the purchasing element will be added when more maps join the site. (I hope they'll get someone who isn't a 'map-head' to write the sales pages.)

"Other historical maps will be developed over the coming months," said the Minister at the launch reception. "This will provide an opportunity for anyone in the world to easily view and purchase maps of their ancestors’ home as it existed almost 200 years ago.”