You are currently browsing the daily archive for 18/03/2012.

As we reported recently, Wiltshire Council have refused to increase their support for the museum by £25,000 a year on the grounds that “nobody was saying put more money into museums, they were all saying take money out of museums to keep other things open

However, we think we’ve found a solution in the council’s Business Plan 2011/2015 in which the Council says “We want people to have a real say on decisions that affect them and their communities“. That’s good, as it seems clear that what has happened is that the Council has accidentally failed to give the public a “real say” because it has failed to explain the true implications of failing to support the Museum. We doubt the public wishes to see the Museum actually put at risk yet the Council is acting as if they do! So that leaves a simple way to settle the matter. The Council should ask the public (on their website, straight away) the specific question:

Do you wish to prejudice the future of Wiltshire’s world-famous Heritage Museum for want of £25,000 a year that we the council have deduced that you the public doesn’t want us to provide Yes/No ?

Watch this space.

[To support this suggestion you can contact Councillor Alan Macrae, portfolio holder for Libraries, Heritage and Culture here and Jane Scott, leader of the Council here]

When trying to plan a trip to visit our ancient heritage sites, it helps to know where to go, and what you’re going to see when you get there. This article, one of an occasional series, explains briefly how to use one of the government mapping websites for England. We’ll cover Wales and Scotland in later articles.

MAGIC, or Multi-Agency Geographical Information for the Countryside is a web-based interactive map bringing together information on key environmental schemes and designations. It involves eight government organisations who have responsibilities for rural policy-making and management.

It is relatively easy to use and allows close zooming of OS standard maps, which can show a variety of datasets from the different goverment agencies, including among others English Heritage, Defra (who run the site) and Natural England. MAGIC makes use of standard GIS tools to allow people to view and query the available data. Users do not require specialist software and can access maps using a standard web browser. MAGIC also provides links to other sources in order to make best use of the wide range of information available on different websites and Internet portals.

The information available in MAGIC has expanded considerably since its launch in July 2002. Originally the interactive map was designed to show only datasets for England as this was the area common to all the partners. In 2005 MAGIC widened it’s geographic scope, including information for Scotland, Wales and marine areas as part of the Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas.

For our purposes, the Interactive Map link is the one we’re most interested in, although the Map Tutorial is worth visiting if you have not seen the site before. Having selected the Interactive Map, the first step is to decide what information is required to be displayed. There is a dropdown allowing selection of a series of pre-defined topics, or there is a ‘Design Your Own’ option. Selecting this option displays a list of more than 100 layers’ which can be included on the map. For our purposes, the most informative layers to display on the map from the more than 100 layers available are; ‘Scheduled Monuments (England)’, ‘World Heritage Sites (England)’, and possibly ‘Parishes (England)’.

Once the layers have been selected, save your selection and return to the Map screen. The next step is to identify the map area you wish to display. This can be done using several different criteria. After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, click on Open map and a new window will open. This stage can take some time at busy periods, so be patient.

The initial scale at which the map opens can vary, dependent upon the criteria used, but the scale can be varied using the Scale textbox, or the zoom tools at the bottom of the map, and the map can also be scrolled using the hand tool. To see more information about a Scheduled Monument, select the ‘i’nformation icon at the top of the map,. Again a new window will open – select the layer you’re interested in from the dropdown, then click within the confines of a monument boundary as shown on the map. A grid will appear with basic identification information about the selected site. In many instances for Scheduled Monuments, clicking on the Legacy UID number will open a PDF file showing an extract from the English Heritage Register of Scheduled monuments, with a detailed description of the selected site. However, not all counties provide this information, which can be frustrating at times!

So all in all, a useful resource for finding Scheduled Monuments and a site that we can strongly recommend. The zoom facility on the maps, while not making it easy to see detail at the higher scales, allows for quite precise placement if you’re looking for e.g. a monument within a built up area. The lack of backing documents in some areas, even for some quite well known monuments, is quite disappointing, but updates are frequent and we can only hope that further information will be added as time goes on.


March 2012

Follow Us

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Facebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,808 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: