Thursday, 6 November 2014

Ordnance Survey NI historic maps temporarily unavailable

I noticed yesterday that the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland had relocated its web presence to the main NI Direct government platform at The new site looks great and wonderfully refreshed, but an unfortunate consequence of the migration is that the historic mapping tool that previously existed on the old site is not available on the new one.

I queried this yesterday on Twitter, and NI Direct have kindly since contacted OSNI on my behalf to ask about the situation. I've just received a follow up tweet saying that "Historic maps aren't currently on site but OSNI hope they will be within next few months".

The various historic maps on the old OSNI site dated back as far as the 1820s, and coverage extended into the 20th century, providing an extraordinary overview of the development of the north of Ireland and Northern Ireland.. However, whilst that was the good part, the bad part was that it was probably the most difficult mapping or family history based website that I have ever had to use, it being very clunky, constantly taking forever to return searches and occasionally crashing. It was usually worth the pain to eventually find what you wanted - but be in no doubt, there was a lot of pain! Hopefully the migration to the new platform means that there is a rethink going on about how to display these important maps, which are some of the most useful online Irish maps available.

In the meantime, for any queries concerning OSNI maps visit

(With thanks to @NIDirect)


My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see

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