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Revision of Ordnance Survey Maps

    Abstract

    WE are glad to note that the Minister of Agriculture has appointed a committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. J. C. C. Davidson, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to consider the measures necessary to accelerate the revision of the Ordnance Survey maps. The maps in question are the large-scale plans, that is, the 25-in., the 6-in. and, in some cases, even those on larger scales, but chiefly those mentioned. The small-scale maps, namely, those on the 1-in. and smaller scales, present no problem. The large-scale plans, which are numbered by tens of thousands, have been gradually getting very much out of date. This is mainly due to two causes: the action of the Geddes Committee of 1922 in recommending further reductions in an already reduced department, and the great alteration in the countryside caused by the expansion of the built-up area and the spread of ‘ribbon development’. There is also the further difficulty that, simultaneously with the enforced slowing up of revision, there has been an increased demand for the large-scale plans for town planning and for land registration. It is clearly high time that the whole matter was examined. Many interests are involved, as is indicated by the fact that no fewer than six public departments are represented on the Committee. The question is somewhat urgent, and it is to be hoped that the Committee may be able to report speedily, for every month the arrears become more serious. There is one curious item in the terms of reference; the Committee is to “review the scales and styles of Ordnance Survey maps placed on sale”. It is not to be desired that we should enter again upon the ‘battle of the scales' which was happily decided more than two generations ago. Nothing has happened since then to throw doubt upon the wisdom of the choice of the 25-in. scale as that of our principal large-scale plans. That old ‘battle of the scales' lasted from 1840 until 1863, and since the latter date the country has enjoyed, in this matter, the great advantage of an uninterrupted, continuous policy.

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