Maps have always held a significant place in project planning, accounting of essential events and identifying infrastructures (water pipes, roads, electrical lines, etc.). There was a time before the invention of GIS, when the maps of significant events and infrastructure were necessary for the planners, historians, and data collectors.
For example, during the time of World War II, the United Kingdom kept an in-depth account of almost every bomb which hit the city of London during the time of Blitz (1940-1941). The digitization of this map data now offers a way to compile these historical details and provides innovative ways to comprehend the old data. The use of Web GIS created from the old maps allows to quickly view the history as well as archival data which include photographs of bombed places. In this way, the information is not just provided about the areas that had been attacked but also shows the link data having the historical pictures of the events. The new map data also helped and made it easier to conduct statistical calculations which included damaged areas and the concentration of bombs in a particular area. This overlay, in turn, provided insights into the German’s planning for war.
The old map data is now used for recreation of how the landscapes have been transformed over the course of time and how these areas have now been used. Not just the digitization and use of new map data helps in better historical understanding but also helps in recreation and historical analysis of maps which can play a significant part in future planning. For example, it is essential to collect map data of old infrastructure which is crucial for designing where new infrastructure will be built in future, as it might be necessary to know where old gas, sewer or water lines might be present.
Such maps are particularly useful for the conservationists and town planners because it provides them with data for creating arguments as to why certain kind of developments should be restricted according to the patterns of historical urban growth.
The old and new map data projects are now attempting to archive as well as provide the historical data that is useful in understanding the past but also helps in planning and comprehending the present and future which will be an excellent resource for the coming generations.