In the map world, there is a famous (or maybe infamous) topographic map of an inaccessible part of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) where in 1923 the surveyors, a group of young army officers used their imagination and drew the contours in the shape of an elephant. This remained undetected for some time, see it here.
Back to the present day, when BGS are carefully scanning their old historical hand-coloured one-inch maps of England and Wales, and Scotland to put on the web for researchers. We came across what looks like the outline of a dinosaur from the shape of it, probably Tyrannosaurus rex! Now here is the fishy bit – if you look carefully there is text close by on the map denoting 'Saurian Bones'. Is this a coincidence?
Tyrannosaurus rex – can you see anything else?
(England And Wales Sheet 71 SE Outlier of g1 Lias Shale and Limestone)
We are going to leave it to the readers to consider whether this is a similar work of 'imagination' to the elephant or indeed, just a true shape of the outcrop of the outlier of Lias Shale and Limestone. The readers' attention is drawn to the fact that the dinosaur map pre-dates the elephant by almost 70 years!
Historic map scanning project
The map scanning project is nearly finished and we will be delivering over 2,200 of the early 1:63,360 scale maps of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland and the horizontal/vertical sections for the period when the Survey was formerly known as the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland.
Jayne Kmieciak scanning an early one-inch map
The maps and sections will be released on the OpenGeoscience part of the BGS website. We will be using the latest map delivery technology, a jpeg2000 image server, to allow users to view the maps in detail. This feature may be previewed in the Irish historical geological maps web site, released a few years ago in conjunction with the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and the Geological Survey of Ireland based in Dublin.
Extract from an England and Wales map sheet
Extract from a horizontal section