Map Project User Guide

Introduction

I started the Frontline Ulster Map Project in December 2020 mainly as a way of collating all of the geographical data that exists across my own records, published literature, and other open source and historical databases. Each one of them serves a very important purpose, and does it very well it many cases, but I felt there was a danger that much of this information would soon be lost in the noise. Many of these external databases and maps concentrate on the Second World War, and other periods of history, including the enduring Operation Banner, are woefully neglected.

I feel it is necessary to reiterate that this is a personal project. My passion is for historical research and I have no commercial interest in any of the information I have collated or provide. Anything I have included in the database is done so under the principle of fair use, and I have tried my best to provide sufficient acknowledgment. But also, I ask that you respect the same principle if you choose to use the information. All information used is already in the public domain. There may be errors and omissions, but if you find any and would like to help me out, please use the contact link and let me know about it.

What sites do the project cover?

It’s not possible to record every possible incident relating to military activity throughout history, but what is possible, is locating and plotting those sites that have associated structures; such as defences, camps and barracks. Here are some examples of what I aim to plot.

YES

  • Pillboxes
  • Forts
  • Airfields
  • Defensive structures
  • Locations related to military activities, war or conflict

NO

  • Second World War bomb locations
  • Terrorist attacks or security force incidents
  • Paranormal activity

Opening the website

Unfortunately this map does not currently work with mobile devices. I am working on trying to develop a mobile friendly version. But in the mean time, please use the site on a laptop or tablet for the best experience.

When you first visit the Frontline Ulster Map Project, you will see a pop-up notification on the front page. When you are ready to proceed to the main map, you can close the notification by clicking on the ☒ at the top right of the box.

Once you close the message box you will be free to navigate the map.
The home display of the map . The main menu will take you to pages outside the map project, the search and filter tools are on the left, and the map navigation tools are on the right side of the screen.

Filtering and Displaying Results

When you first open the map, you will notice there are no markers displayed. You will need to use the search or filter tools to display items on the map.

Search for features

Using the search box (top left) you can enter a term and display results that have that word in the title or description. In this example [airfield], not only are airfields shown, but also sites that may be associated with airfields, such as munitions depots that held ammunition for local airfields.
You can also apply a location filter to this search. In this example we are searching airfield sites, near Belfast. When using the [SEARCH NEARBY] option, the location will be populated from the Google Maps database, and you will need to select the closest match to your term. You will then have the option to select the search radius; 10km, 20km, 30km, 50km or 100km.
With the search criteria and search radius applied, we can see a series of results for airfield associated sites within 30km of Belfast. The boundaries of the map will zoom to display all the results shown.

Select complete datasets by period

If you are interested in one particular period of history, you can use the radio buttons in the filter menu to display the entire dataset based on the recorded period of main activity.

Show only extant sites

It is possible using the option in the filter menu to show sites that have some tangible remains left, or extant sites. While the whole site may not have been preserved, this option will show sites that still have large elements remaining, such as; complete or collapsed pillboxes, airfield runways, concrete Nissen hut bases, requisitioned properties, or sites still in use.

The map currently shows second world war sites that are extant, or have physical remains.

Remember – Almost all of these sites are on private property and may be in a poor state of disrepair. I can take no responsibility for any damage or injury sustained if you choose to visit on of them, nor can I take responsibility for your decision to trespass. Always seek the landowners permission, and seek advice before entering potentially dangerous sites.

Clearing Filters

At any stage if you wish to clear the filters, you can clear the filters and start a new search. To do this, simply use the [Clear Filters] button.

Navigating the Map

  • Zoom IN – This button will increase the zoom and get you closer to the map
  • Zoom OUT – This button will decrease the zoom and take you further away from the map
  • Find user location – If your device can share its location, the arrow button will display your location on the map
  • Resize map – If you want to reset the view or zoom and display all of Northern Ireland again, this resize button will do that.

Viewing a map marker

When you have your filter criteria selected, you can navigate around the map to get closer to locations you may want to look at in more detail. On a desktop or laptop browser the rollover function will display the title of a location when you bring your cursor over it. From here you can choose to select or click on the marker for more information.

The rollover function will display title and condition of the site your mouse is over. All other markers will be subdued. This does not work on touchscreen devices.
When you select a marker, or click on it, you will open a new information box containing the information about the site selected. When you select a marker, the map will automatically zoom to centre that location on the screen. You can still zoom in or out from here using the map navigation menu on the right side of the screen.

To close the information box, click on the X in the top right of the information box. You can still continue to navigate the map while the box is showing. Selecting a new marker will update the information in the box.

When you want to move on to a new marker, you will need to zoom out again or use the map resize button [ ] on the map navigation menu.

The resized map will revert to displaying all markers set by the filter.

Download – Coming soon!

I have made the dataset that I use for this map project available for anyone to download. The format I have chosen for this is KML as it is easily worked and imported into other applications, such as Google Earth.

Contact

Finally, you can send me a message about anything you have seen on the map project, or to contribute a site. Your browser will need to accept pop-ups for the contact form to work, and once you have submitted your message, you will be prompted to close the window.