Ordnance Survey Ireland, the national mapping authority of Ireland, has created a computer database of over 40,000 maps that were used for establishing a taxation system for land valuation for Ireland. The first complete series was surveyed and mapped by 1842 and the last map published by 1847. Over 2,100 men were employed for the duration of this mammoth task of creating the 1700 maps of the series. All of this happened before the Famine in Ireland (1846-1850) and mass emigration of Irish people to North America. Millions of Irish descendants may be able to use this new online resource to find a pictorial representation of where their ancestors lived.
This was the first fully scientific mapping of Ireland and is still noted for its accuracy. Every road and track, every stone wall and hedge, every river and stream from Fair Head to Mizen Head and from Howth Head to Slyne Head was survey and mapped with a level of precision never seen before.
The work also involved research into and standardization of geographical names, the vast majority of which are Anglicizations of original names in the Irish language.
Ordnance Survey Ireland has now created a computer database of this entire digital archive. Modern technology has been used to stitch the maps of each series together to make a virtual single map of the entire country. This will give the viewer and researcher the ability to travel the length and breath of the country viewing the topography in great detail with just a computer mouse.
The series will be officially launched at the Federation of Genealogical Societies' (FGS) conference in Boston from August 30 to September 2. However, a preview of the six-inch series is now available on the web at http://www.irishhistoricmaps.ie.