Geocoding the Stevenson Maps and Plans of Scotland: Creating and Sharing a Web Interface

Graphic mashup featuring screenshot from the Stevensons' maps website and detail of J. M W. Turner's watercolour, "Bell Rock Lighthouse" (1819).

An interactive web-mapping interface for the Stevenson maps and plans of Scotland has been created by PhD candidate Rachel Dishington, and has been made available as an online resource via the National Library of Scotland’s website. Rachel is conducting this research as part of a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the National Library of Scotland (NLS). The site was published online following a three-month placement at the NLS in 2019. 

The aim of the project was to provide an online resource for researchers using the Stevenson Archive to study specific geographic areas or civil engineering projects.  Adding descriptions and indexing to a standard electronic archive catalogue was an option, but presenting the information via an online map-based tool offered advantages, such as enabling visualisation of complex variable extents of different maps. The public website also provides supplementary information and relevant images.  

Rachel’s doctoral research focuses on ‘Engineering ‘Modern’ Scotland: The Stevenson Maps and Plans and Scotland’s Built Infrastructure, c.1800–c.1900’. The doctoral programme is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium.