The National Library of Scotland’s

New Map Transcription Projects

Please complete our survey below to participate in new data gathering projects

After the success of the GB1900 project, capturing place names and written content from the Ordnance Survey’s 6-inch to the mile maps from 1888-1913, we are planning three new collaborative transcription projects in 2022 for people to participate in data gathering.

Please read below for more information on the projects and show your interest by adding your email address and name, alongside the project(s) you are interested in. This will allow us to send you the relevant information for your chosen project(s) and compile a list of interested participants.

Ordnance Survey Edinburgh 25-inch Transcription Project

Volunteers are sought for a collaborative online project to transcribe all of the text on the Ordnance Survey’s 25-inch to the mile mapping for Edinburgh (1890s).

Including street names and a wealth of related urban information, the OS 25-inch mapping is the most detailed scale covering all of Scotland’s inhabited regions. This project will use a simple interface to draw boxes around names on the 25-inch mapping, transcribe the text and tag or categorise it following a simple set of terms. The results will be released as an open dataset for onward use, allowing new search possibilities for the likes of street-names and related map features. The transcribed written content will also be used as a test dataset for machine learning approaches to identify text on maps, which are being actively developed. This project is a collaborative project organised by the National Library of Scotland and the Machines Reading Maps team at The Alan Turing Institute. If successful, this project will be extended geographically, beyond Edinburgh, using this mapping.

Scotways Historic Footpaths Project

Volunteers are sought to trace the routes of footpaths from the Ordnance Survey’s 6-inch to the mile maps dated around 1900.

Scotways and the National Library of Scotland are organising a collaborative historic footpath mapping project in 2022. The point locations of over 12,000 “F.P.” footpath abbreviations have already been identified on the OS 6-inch to the mile maps from around 1900 covering Scotland, but the routes of the footpaths on the ground have not yet been traced. Identifying footpaths and making them available as an open layer, will help facilitate Scotways’ work in researching the backgrounds of footpaths today and safeguarding them as rights of way.

Roy Military Survey of Scotland Placenames Project

Volunteers are sought for a collaborative online project to transcribe all of the placenames on the Roy Military Survey of Scotland maps (1747- 1755).

Known to its contemporaries as the ‘Great Map’, the Roy Military Survey of Scotland is not only strikingly beautiful to view but a uniquely important map in Scottish History and map-making. It is the only standard topographic map prior to the Ordnance Survey mapping in the 19th Century. For many Highland areas, it is the most detailed and informative map that survives for the entire 18th Century. The project will use a simple interface to draw boxes around names on the Roy map and transcribe placenames, linking where possible to later forms of the name on the Ordnance Survey maps. The resulting gazetteer will be released as an open dataset for onward use, forming a placename search interface for the Roy maps and be of value to many other types of research in history, geography and placename studies. This is a collaborative project organised by the British Library (who hold the original Roy mapping) and the National Library of Scotland. The completed placenames dataset will be released for onward use on the NLS Data Foundry and the BL Research Repository.

Please add your details

Complete the fields below to receive information and updates on our new transcription project(s).

Deadline: Ideally, please register your interest by Friday 11th February.

We plan to run these projects separately, rather than simultaneously, and completely understand if, having signed up, circumstances do not allow you to take part. Signing up does not commit you in any way to working on a particular project.

Your personal information will be held and used by the National Library of Scotland for the purposes of sending you information about the map transcription project(s) above as you request.

For full details see our privacy page, in particular our communications privacy notice.

Contact Us

Email us at maps@nls.uk

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