Interactive maps in time


Developed for Living with Machines

Design and code by Olivia Vane; ideas and writing developed with Katherine McDonough

Interface & Code

Macromap (Observable notebook)

JavaScript: D3, PIXI

Learn more

Blogpost: Macromap: Interactive Maps in Time

Video: Maps in Time, Information+ Conference 2021

Macromap is one of a set of visualisations created within the Living with Machines project for understanding historical map collections and their history. How can we get a handle on very large, partially-digitised collections of maps? We need a map of the maps.

Macromap is designed to help researchers understand what map sheets the British Ordnance Survey (OS) made, when and where. It also illuminates what’s been digitised: a lot, but not everything. The interface could alternatively be used with other historical maps and map series metadata, and, more generally, to understand the geographic and temporal shape of large-scale polygon datasets.

The OS, Britain’s national mapping agency, created large numbers of detailed maps from the early nineteenth century. Map series at different cartographic scales, in a sequence of editions, capture snapshots of a changing landscape through time. Macromap visualises data describing these maps, helping us see what is available. For more information, read the blogpost.

Watch our presentation ‘Maps in Time’ from Information+ Conference 2021 to learn more.