Northern Ireland news

€740,000 cross-border ordnance survey project launched

A new ordinance survey project has been launched
Connla Young

A €740,000 cross-border research project is set to combine and digitise ordnance survey (OS) material from across the island.

The project aims to bring together heritage material from for a new 'digital humanities' research project.

The scheme has been launched after researchers at University of Limerick (UL) and Queen's University Belfast (QUB) secured funding from the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Cash will be made available for 11 digital humanities projects across Ireland and the UK.

The research project, 'OS200: Digitally Re-Mapping Ireland’s Ordnance Survey Heritage’ hopes to revamp interest in ordnance survey by "re-connecting and sharing the divided legacies of the OS in Ireland".

The project team involves geographers, historians, linguists and computer scientists and is led by Professor Keith Lilley at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Dr Catherine Porter (UL).

Dr Porter said: “Two hundred years ago, Ireland was the first country in the world to be mapped entirely at the large scale of 6 inches to 1 mile.

"Not only did the OS produce maps, the surveyors also recorded local details including folklore, place-names, antiquities, religion, and topography.

Ms Porter said the new project will draw together all relevant material into one resource.

"OS200 will, for the first time since the OS mapping of the island began, draw together the currently disparate maps, memoirs, letters, name books and sketches into one accessible resource that will act as a foundation to digitally and spatially interlink and enhance fragmented heritage across the island," he said.

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in the south, said: “The UK-Ireland digital humanities partnership is a timely reminder of both the appetite and the potential for UK-Ireland research collaboration, both ‘east-west’ and ‘north-south’."

The project will run from 2021, the centenary of Partition in Ireland to 2024, which marks the bicentenary of the beginning of the OS mapping project in Ireland.

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