I’ve talked in previous posts about the new head office we’ll be moving to later this year and how excited I am about a shiny new building – but what about all that packing? If you think that there are around 1,100 of us currently living in a building intended for around 3,500–4,000, you can imagine how much space we’ve got. And if you think about what you do with any spare space in your home (come on, I bet your lofts, garages, sheds and cupboards are packed to bursting!), then you can imagine the task facing us after 40 plus years at Romsey Road.
Paul’s already updated us on the historic artifacts we’ve uncovered, but there are also thousands and thousands of old maps and map-related records. So, what do we do with them? There are actually several routes we follow. Our Historic Map Archive has been used to complete collections and libraries up and down the country for example.
But that was quite an easy one. What would you do with a large scale metric survey of Shetland? It was actually gratefully received by The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Even more unusual has been the discovery of a 30-foot aerial photo covering the length of Britain. Dating from 1942, it was a training flight by the Spitfire Air Reconnaissance based in Scotland. It has now been passed to The National Archives (TNA) at Kew.
Aside from the unusual cases, the majority of our records are transferred to TNA as they are of historic value. We have trig records (our surveyors used them to show where measuring points were) which often include an old photo of a former surveyor pointing at some item on the ground!
There are also flight plans being packaged up and transferred to TNA. Before 2000 all our aerial photography involved photos and films, and the flight plans were used to show exactly how the images were captured along a route. This helped our colleagues with their digital orthorectification. This involves removing any height distortions in a flat photograph of the earth’s service so that the orthorectified image accurately reflects the position of features on the ground.
So, that’s what we do with our old maps. Before you know it, our old maps could be in deep store in a redundant Cheshire salt mine under the safeguard of the TNA. Or they could be in your local library, waiting to be used!