Contours of Conflict: the Highs and Lows of Military Mapping at The National Archives of the United Kingdom
Five centuries of military mapping in arenas around the world are held at The National Archives of the United Kingdom, which is the main official archives of British central government including the military. Earlier maps provide context for the majority of maps, which date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They all illustrate ways in which the armed services used maps; for intelligence and planning purposes, reconnaissance, campaigns, ‘going’; to report action and as records for posterity.
This paper uses the theme of relief to explore what light maps from the Archives can shed on the question of how its depiction changed over time, and the extent to which the requirements and challenges of war led to innovations in mapmaking. Examples chosen reflect the response to different military manoeuvres and technical advances, and to the broad spectrum of landscapes encountered by military personnel, from mountains to trenches and desert dunes.
KeywordsNational Archive Military Survey Naval Base Military Mapping Western Front
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