This site showcases some of the best Imperial War Museums' map-related artefacts. We combine modern maps with overlays of historic trench or photo maps and Street View. Convert trench map references to modern locations. Or discover famous Great War places through a searchable gazetteer.
Here's how to get the best out of it:
• The menu system is at the top left corner.
• Right click on a map to open a context-menu.
• Click WFA Maps to close any open dialogues for a quick return to your page.
• — for anything you can do on this site and how to do it yourself.
• — a comprehensive reference for Great War trench maps.
• — see responses to questions others have raised.
• — see how you can use maps on this portal for your personal use.
• for additional support.
With over 10,000 items scanned, we are using the latest digital technology to bring a significant proportion of these to you to enable you to browse - and (for a small fee) download. Members of The Western Front Association can download a number of these free every month.
Whilst only ten percent of these are currently available, we aim to bring you the entire collection, as more and more are uploaded onto this portal.
Pan (drag) the map and we seamlessly find maps while you continue to move up and down the battlefields. We overlay a Great War map (or aerial photo) over the modern map.
• Using our opacity slider you can look at the modern landscape. Perhaps you will see the unmistakable scarring where chalk lines still faintly mark trenches in modern farmland. Look at a trench map of an active sector and marvel at the intricate detail and just how close the British and German front lines were.
• Use our 'Find Maps' button (or 'Advanced Find') to locate a particular map. You can then zoom in and out and flick between satellite images topographical maps or street maps. If you look at the aerial photos you can, in some cases, see a blockhouse, mine crater or preserved trench.
• The Western Front (France / Flanders), Gallipoli and the Home Front (UK) are ready now. Other theatres will become available.
There are lots of other functions here. Try converting a Great War trench map reference to a modern location. Go into Street View to see the battlefields from ground level. Measure distances and bearing.
We are steadily georeferencing our maps - please volunteer (using the 'contact us' button) if you would like to help; doing so will accelerate the project and enable you to be part of an exciting and ground-breaking initiative!
Some maps may appear to be slightly mis-aligned, but overlaying historic maps produced long ago in trying conditions in an obscure projection with different cartographic techniques is an art. It is surprising how many roads, rivers, canals and railways still exist and exactly align. Where they do not, tempting as it is to believe that the feature has changed, but the most likely reason is that it is just not possible to line up every single hand-drawn historic feature and show it on computer-generated satellite-imagery without some distortion.