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SABRE Maps/Quarter Inch coverage project

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This SABRE Maps Coverage Project is to provide online coverage of various series of OS, OSI and OSNI maps at the Quarter Inch and 1:250,000 scales.

Within Ordnance Survey, Quarter Inch maps were generally considered to be motoring maps, and as such were the first "standard" series to include road numbers on them, starting in 1929 on the Third Edition (New Series) mapping. These were then replaced in the mid-1930s by the Fourth Edition, easily recognised by the very tall sheet style; whilst the Fifth Series, first printed in 1957, was branded as Quarter Inch, but was actually at the 1:250,000 scale. These were finally replaced in the late 1970s with various brands of mapping at the same scale, such as Routemaster and Travelmaster.

From 2010 onwards, Ordnance Survey released 1:250,000 mapping as OpenData, meaning that it can be used within SABRE Maps with appropriate attribution. These releases are also managed from within this Coverage Project.

1:250,000 maps were produced by Ordnance Survey Ireland starting in 1958, with five sheets covering the entire island, with Sheet 2 being primarily of Northern Ireland. The final maps in this series were produced in 1979.

Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland used the Quarter Inch scale initally for the Northern Ireland Road Map (from 1926) and other special mapping series which are not covered by SABRE Maps, such as Boundary Commission and Rainfall maps. From 1957 onwards, the Quarter Inch Map of Northern Ireland, a more general mapping series more in the style of the OSGB sheets was instigated. This was then intended to be replaced by a new 1:250,000 Map of Ireland jointly produced by OSNI and OSI starting in 1970, but this series didn't get further than Sheet 1 which was centred on Northern Ireland and County Donegal.

Since 1980, the Holiday Map has been produced jointly between OSNI and OSI at the 1:250,000 scale.

Which projection type are these maps?

See Also: SABRE Maps/Calibrating

The various Quarter Inch series within our timeframe use a number of different projections.

Great Britain

The Third Edition uses Cassini (Delamere) for both the England and Wales series and that of Scotland.

The Fourth Edition is laid out on the National Yard Grid, which is shown on all 1930s revisions, whilst post-war editions are still on the National Yard Grid sheetlines but are re-marked as OSGB National Grid and so have strange numbers in the corners of the sheets. It is safe to use whichever system is shown on the map for georeferencing.

The Fifth Edition and later mapping, including the 1:250k OpenData releases, all use the OSGB National Grid.

Ireland

The Northern Ireland Road Maps use the Bonne (Ireland) projection; whilst the later Quarter Inch Maps of Northern Ireland and the 1:250,000 Map of Ireland are both laid out on the Irish Grid.

OSGB Third Edition

Third Edition cover

The OS Quarter Inch Third Editions of England and Wales can be very confusing as the specification of them changed rapidly within a few years of their first publication just after World War 1; and were historically known as "Third Edition" and "Third Edition (New Series)", but helpfully, there's no obvious differences on the labelling of the sheets themselves.

For SABRE Maps purposes, the later Third Edition sheets (the so-called "New Series" or "A series") where many of the sheet numbers were suffixed with an "A" is the one we are primarily interested in as these are some of the earliest examples of standard OS sheets that contain road numbers. Confusingly, there were some early "A" suffixed sheets from the early series that don't contain numbers; and there are sheets in the New Series whose sheet numbers are not suffixed with "A" as they are on the same sheetlines as the first group. There is also no Sheet 5 within the New Series; and Sheet 1 was common with the Scottish Third Edition (which had no such "A" series confusions)

In short, if road numbers are printed on the map, then it should be included within this Coverage Project.

Currently there is only a single map layer available of maps from circa 1930, but the vast majority of maps scans donated came without margins, so we currently do not know the exact revisions of each sheet. However, it is planned to extend the current annual Quarter Inch layers back in time to include the relevant Third Edition sheets.

Which maps are actually available?

Revision codes on Third Edition sheets can be found at the bottom right of the map, hidden in the middle of the text located there. During the time of this series, the Ordnance Survey tended to add the latest revision code to earlier codes. It is specifically the last code that is the relevant one.

If you have any of the maps shown as not currently available in the table below, and you are willing to donate map scans or the maps themselves, then please get in touch.

Available on Maps Unconfirmed Revision Within the pipeline Not currently available Still within copyright
Third Edition (New Series) Revision Code example, 1000/34
England and Wales
Sheet Name 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935
1 The Border 5800/30 950/31 2000/33
2A North Central (no code) 5000/29 5200/29 500/35
3 England, North East 6000/29 2500/31 2000/33
4A North Wales and Manchester 5000/28 7000/30 2000/33 2000/34
5 (not printed)
6A North Midlands and Lincolnshire 7500/30 1000/34 2000/34
7A South Wales 6200/29 200/33
8A The Midlands 8000/29 6500/32
9A East Anglia 7500/30 6000/32
10 England, South West 5000/29 6000/31 2000/33 1000/34
11 England, South 10200/29 15750/31
12A England, South East and London 8200/29 9000/31 450/33 2000/35
Scotland
Sheet Name 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935
1 (common with E and W series)
2 Scotland, South West 2000/32
3 The Forth and Tay 2000/31
4 Glasgow, Oban and the Southern Isles 1000/32 2500/33
5 The Eastern Highlands 2450/34
6 The Western Highlands 1000/32 2000/33
7 Scotland, North 1000/32 2000/33
8 The Northern Hebrides
9 The Orkney Islands
10 The Shetland Islands 500/32

OSGB Fourth Edition

QI 4th pre-war cover.jpg
Qi1940s.png
Pre-war sheets have revision codes like this example, 60/37 M.36 R.30-2. Note the National Yard Grid co-ordinates being round numbers at the map corners.
Sheets from the immediate post-war period have revision codes like this, 20,046/Cr. The map gridlines are now in the (metric) National Grid and are no longer round numbers at the corners.
The final few maps had revision codes of this style, D in this example, although the earlier numeric codes can also be found in this location.

The Fourth Edition mapping is similar visually to the Third Edition, and can look somewhat cluttered to modern eyes. It was born out of the confusion of the Third Edition with the first sheets being printed in 1934; and was the first Quarter Inch mapping to be based on the National Yard Grid. The maps are easily recognised by their very tall nature when folded; and lasted for quite some time, with the final maps being published in 1960.

After World War 2, the maps have WITH NATIONAL GRID prominently printed on them as they were converted to the new National (metric) Grid, conveniently forgetting that they'd actually always been based on the National (yard) Grid.

There is currently a "circa 1946" layer that contains examples of one of each sheet available, and most are from the 1946 revisions. However, it is planned to extend the current annual Quarter Inch layers back in time to include the relevant Fourth Edition sheets.

Which maps are actually available?

Revision codes on Fourth Series sheets can be found in one of two very similar places. In early maps, they are located right at the bottom left of the map sheet, between the map itself and the key; whilst in later sheets, they are located below the key. Note that in the table below, some pre-war editions are not listed at this time.

Available on Maps Unconfirmed Revision Within the pipeline Not currently available Still within copyright
England and Wales
Sheet Name 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
1 The Border 20046 B
2 North Central 20046 2028 A//
3 England, North East 20046/Cr 2029 A//
4 North Wales and Manchester 20046 2025 2030 D
5 (no map published)
6 North Midlands and Lincolnshire 20046/Cr 2026 2036 C/
7 South Wales 20,046/Cr 2027 C
8 Midlands 6039 20046/Cr 2023 2031 D D/
9 East Anglia 60/37 20,046/Cr 2024 2032 C C/
10 England, South West 5035 10038 23046/Cr 2020 2039 A///
11 England, South 6035 60/37 20,045/Ch 2021 2033 E E/
12 England, South East and London 25045/Ch 2022 2034 D D/
Scotland
Sheet Name 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
1 (common with E and W series)
2 Scotland, South West 20046 A/
3 The Forth, Clyde and Tay 20046/Cr B/
4 Glasgow and the Middle West 15046/Cr 2019 2040 A// A///
5 The Eastern Highlands 15046 B
6 Skye and the Outer Hebrides 1536 15046 A/
7 Scotland North 15046 A? A/
8 & 9 Orkney and Shetland Islands 5046 2035

OSGB Fifth Series

The "Revision A" layer contains the initial revisions of the Fifth Series Quarter Inch layers, and so will become a full set of all "A" revision maps. The first sheet was published in 1957, which the final sheet being early 1963.

As well as this, there are annual layers that contain on them the exact Quarter Inch sheets published in the year listed. As not all sheets were revised each year, then there will inevitably be gaps in coverage. Equally, some sheets were revised more frequently than others, ranging from five across the life of the series to eleven. The final sheets were printed in 1978, and so it will be a while before full coverage can be achieved on SABRE Maps.

Which maps are actually available?

Most sheets have revision codes that look like this, B/* in this example, which dates this One Inch map to 1966 rather than the 1962 copyright date
Early revision code, A in this example
See Also: SABRE Maps/OS Copyright

Annoyingly, the OS didn't actually put the exact date of the map on each map. The date that appears on the map (either with the words Crown Copyright or Made and published by the Director General of the Ordnance Survey) often is not the correct date of the map, but the date of the last major revision. Roads are updated every minor revision, so there is every chance that a map may actually be from quite a number of years away from the copyright date. There is an example of the Preston One Inch sheet which has a copyright date of 1958, but in actual fact the revision date is 1969, and hence the map shows the entire M6 motorway in the area.

Revision codes on Quarter Inch Fifth Series sheets can be found in one of two places. In early maps, they are located right at the bottom left of the map sheet, underneath the sheet number; whilst in most sheets, they are located immediately under the bottom left corner of the maps themselves, between the map and the key.

Revision codes appear in the heading within SABRE Maps, and so this information is extremely valuable to capture, as it gives the exact publishing date; and indeed they are the easiest way of confirming exactly which map is which.

Ordnance Survey maps can only be scanned for SABRE Maps when they fall out of copyright, which lasts for fifty years, so they can be used on the following 1 January. This means that a map with a Crown Copyright date printed on the map of 1964 became out-of-copyright, and hence usable on 1 January 2015. As it's the Crown Copyright date that OS use as the critical date in terms of copyright licensing, it means that we can use maps that are younger than the critical 50 years, as long as their copyright dates are old enough. Copyright dates are incremented at each full survey, so when the revision code letter is incremented, rather than when a more minor revision is published.

Available on Maps Unconfirmed Revision Within the pipeline Not currently available Still within copyright
Sheet Name 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978
1 Orkney and Shetland Islands - - - - - A - - - - A/ - - - - A// - B - - - -
2 North West Scotland - - - - - A - - - B - - - B/ - - C - C/* - - -
3 Northern Scotland - - - - - A - - - B - - - - B/* - C C/* - - - -
4 Western Highlands - - - - A - - A/ - - B - - - B/* - - C - - - D
5 Eastern Highlands - - - - - A A/ - - - B - - - B/ - - C - - - D
6 Firth of Clyde - - - - A - - - B - - B/* - - B/*/* - - C C/* - - D
7 Firth of Forth - - - - A - - B - - B/* - C - - C/* D - D/* - - -
8 Solway Firth - - - A - - B - - C - C/ note 1 - - - C//* - D - - - -
9 North East England - - - A - - - B - B/* - B/*/* - C - C/* D - D/* - - -
10 North Wales and Lancashire A - - - - B - - - C C/ - D D/* D/*/* - E E/* E/*/* F - -
11 North Midlands and Yorkshire - - - A - - - B - B/* C - C/* C/*/* C/*/*/* C/*/*/*/* D D/* D/*/* - E -
12 South Wales - - - A - - - A/* - - B - B/* - B/*/* - C C/* - - - -
13 The Midlands - - - - - A - - B - B/* C - C/* C/*/* C/*/*/* D D/* D/*/* E - -
14 East Anglia - - - - - A - - A/ B - - - C - - - D - - E -
15 South West England - - - - - A - - - B - - B/* - - C - C/* - - - -
16 Southern England - - - - - - A - - B B/* B/*/* - C C/* C/*/* D D/* D/*/* E - -
17 South East England - - - - - - A - - B B/* - B/*/* C C/* C/*/* D D/* D/*/* E - -
- Wales and The Marches - - A - - A/ B - - - B/* - - - C - - - - D - -


Notes:
1 - Sheet 8 Revision C/ was actually published in June 1971, but the revision date on the map is 1968. It is shown on the 1968 layer congruent with the revision date rather than following the standard practice which would see it on the 1971 layer. This is due to the map being out of date before it was printed as it was missing the relevant sections of M6 through Westmorland and Cumberland, almost all of which in the area was opened by the time the map was published.

OSGB 1:250,000 OpenData

Starting in 2010, Ordnance Survey released 1:250,000 Colour Raster coverage (the modern equivalent of Quarter Inch mapping) across Great Britain as OpenData, and therefore this modern mapping can be used on SABRE Maps with appropriate attribution.

New revisions are released annually, but unfortunately Ordnance Survey claim that each annual release simply overwrites the previous release across their servers, and they do not keep historical revisions. This means that unless someone downloaded (or ordered on DVD) the mapping at the correct time and archived it, then it is lost forever. They are currently released in June, but this has not historically always been the case.

We believe that SABRE Maps has the largest repository available on the Internet, but we are still missing some revisions. Please get in touch with Steven or the Site Management Team via the Forums if you have copies of the missing revisions.

Which maps are actually available?

Year Availability Notes
 2010       March 2010
 2011       June 2011
 2012      
 2013       June 2013
 2014      
 2015      
 2016       June 2016
 2017       June 2017
 2018       June 2018
 2019       June 2019
 2020       June 2020
 2021       June 2021

OSI 1:250,000

OSI 1:250,000 mapping dates from the 1960s and 1970s, and so appears on the relevant annual layers.

As not all sheets were revised each year, then there will inevitably be gaps in coverage. Equally, some sheets were revised more frequently than others, ranging from five across the life of the series to eleven. The final sheets were printed in 1979, and so it will be a while before full coverage can be achieved on SABRE Maps.

Which maps are actually available?

Most OSI Quarter Inch maps have revision codes that look like this example taken from a Half Inch map, 5-57 in this case, which dates the map to May 1957
See Also: SABRE Maps/OS Copyright

OS Ireland maps generally have some of the simplest revision code information to find - they're generally bottom right just underneath the map, with extensive dating information to the right. However, be aware that some OSI maps don't actually have specific revision codes on them, and they are noted as "N/A" in the table below where a map is known to have been published in that year, but is missing the revision code.

Revision codes appear in the heading within SABRE Maps, and so this information is extremely valuable to capture, as it gives the exact publishing date; and indeed they are the easiest way of confirming exactly which map is which.

Ordnance Survey Ireland maps can only be scanned for SABRE Maps when they fall out of copyright, which lasts for fifty years, so they can be used on the following 1 January. This means that a map with a Government Copyright date printed on the map of 1964 became out-of-copyright, and hence usable on 1 January 2015.

Available on Maps Unconfirmed Revision Within the pipeline Not currently available Still within copyright
Sheet Name 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1 Ireland NW 6-60 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2 Ireland NE N/A 1-67 N/A N/A
3 Ireland W 2-64 N/A N/A
4 Ireland SE N/A 10-65 N/A N/A N/A
5 Ireland SW N/A 2-66 6-69 5-74 N/A N/A N/A

Note: Two further 1970s editions of Sheet 3 were published at unknown dates; as well as one further edition of Sheet 4 between 1972 and 1977.




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