A group of people who had an interest in old maps began meeting in the Globe in Dumfries. The idea was to see if we could produce digitised versions of 18th century maps and by doing so create an new/old map of Nithsdale.  We wanted to see if they could be geo-referenced with more modern maps so that accurate study of the environment could be allowed.

To our delight we found that landowners/map owners were also pleased that other people were interested in their old maps and we have been offered access to a variety of maps to inspect.  For instance the Duke of Buccleuch has kindly made available maps for us under the guidance of Professor David Munro, an example of which is below.


To this end, Alex Bryden of Forest Mapping Solutions produced some samples of 18th century maps geo-referenced to modern maps.  There were all sorts of problems to overcome to get the geo-referencing to make sense but accuracy of detail is still elusive and will probably remain so.

Ian Turner then did an initial scanning of some 18th century maps kept at Drumlanrig as a trial run, using an ordinary office scanner and a hand held camera.  We have learnt a lot about the need for correct protocols and systems for copying.

Essentially, using fairly rudimentary systems, we have proved what can be done and indeed what can’t be.  We are in some sense re-inventing the wheel which people like Chris Fleet had invented at the NLS; however the scale of the project is now becoming obvious. The Globe group continues to meet.

With the help of the archivist Graham Roberts, around 1,500 pre-ordnance survey (1850s) maps within Nithsdale have been identified and it is likely that there will be many more.  Some areas, of course, may never be covered by a pre-1850 map but other areas (particularly belonging to large estates) are very well covered.  We also know of other collections that cover areas just outside our initial stamping ground and so the potential to move on to other areas is very great. We will always been very interested to hear of any new maps!

Inaugural Meeting

This took place in horrible weather in February 2013.  Despite the snow 80 people turned up to hear about the project and to listen to Prof Munro talk about the Drumlanrig collection and about early mapping in general.  It seemed to have been enjoyed and encouraged us to persevere with the project. To this end a Board was formed under the chairmanship of George Norrie.

The Current Board 

The Board of Trustees is:

  • Lord Norrie (Chairman)
  • Robert Gladstone (Treasurer)
  • Archie McConnel (Secretary)
  • Jo Kemp 
  • Robert Gladstone
  • Patrick, Earl of Annandale
  • Colin Carter Campbell
  • Michael Leybourne
  • Graham Roberts (Dumfries Archives)
  • Lizanne Henderson (Glasgow University Liaison)


Please feel free to contact any of the members of the steering group with ideas and information that may be useful to the project.