Friday, July 01, 2016

Mapping the Battle of the Somme

Today marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the largest battle of World War I on the Western Front. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 and more than a million men were wounded or killed.

The Living Legacies Engagement Centre at Queen's University Belfast has released a story map of the battle, looking in particular at the key events involving the Irish Raised Divisions (36th Ulster & 16th Irish). 4dSomme uses the Esri Story Map library to explore the history of the battle, the importance of field-surveyors & cartographers to the battle and the key events involving the Irish Raised Divisions.

The story map makes great use of modern 3d aerial maps of the River Somme overlaid with vintage military maps to plot the advances and retreats of the Irish Raised Divisions during the battle. Vintage photographs and Google Street View imagery are also used throughout the site to illustrate some of the important locations in the battle.

The final interactive map in 4dSomme allows you to view a number of the vintage military maps overlaid on top of a 3d map of the region. This map also allows you to overlay the positions of the British and German front lines, at key dates, on top of the vintage military maps.

Rutland and the Battle of the Somme is a new interactive map which recounts the history of the Battle of the Somme and explains when, where and how the soldiers from Rutland county died. The map includes a timeline feature which recounts the progress of the battle in chronological order.

As you progress through the battle the map updates to show the front line of the battle as it stood at the beginning of every month. A small information window at the top of the map also provides brief updates on the progress of the battle.

Poppy shaped markers are added to the map by date to show when and where Rutland soldiers were killed. You can click on the markers to learn more about each individual soldier commemorated on the map. The red cross markers show where a soldier was severely injured, before dying later in hospital.

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