Friday 17 January 2014

Exclusive: AskAboutIreland to add more GV maps
More Griffith's Valuation maps will become available
AskAboutIreland's free access to Griffith's Valuation is back online again. The searchable collection was taken down over the Christmas holidays for maintenance and upgrading work that was expected to take a few weeks.

It's taken slightly less time. It reappeared last night, in all its familiar livery, and it feels and reacts in the same way as previously. This is because the upgrade has been of a technical, behind-the-scenes and future-proofing nature.

The techies are testing the site today, so probably best not to all go rushing in there at once!

Upgrading work will be continuing over the coming months. It is expected that this can be carried out without impacting users.

And then the seriously good news! The Griffith's Valuation section of the site will be upgraded with more maps. As many researchers will already know, Griffith's Valuation maps are a bit of muddle, because any number of sets were produced over the years but none of the surviving sets is complete. At present, there is only one set of maps accessible on AskAboutIreland. Originating from the Department of the Environment, it was chosen as the initial map set for AskAboutIreland because it's in colour, which makes it easier to study online.

As the upgrade moves on, additional map sets will be bolted onto the search system. These are black and white, and some are quite sketchy, so they won't be easy on the eye. What is more, some are of unknown date and there are, again, gaps in geographical coverage. Some townlands, for example, may appear in five or six map sets, but they may not be dated. In other words, these new map sets probably won't become the sets of choice for most researchers. However, they may reveal new details, and they may be useful for clarifying certain issues that may have arisen from the better-known main set.

I will be one of those most eager to look at alternative maps because I have never been able to pinpoint the home of my great great grandfather just outside Clonakilty. The land holding is still in the family, so I know its location, but the dwelling is not identified on the AskAboutIreland map and I want to know where it was. Perhaps one of these alternative map sets can help.

The online arrival of these additional map sets is not yet scheduled. It may take a few months, but they are coming.