Interactive Blitz bombs map created
Published 06/12/2012 | 18:39
An interactive map has been created showing where German bombs landed on London during eight months of the Second World War Blitz.
The year-long mapping project, devised by geographer Dr Kate Jones of the University of Portsmouth, uses red bomb symbols to illustrate where each bomb landed.
The map shows how the entire greater city, from Egham in the west to Dartford in the east, Potters Bar in the north and Caterham in the south, was obliterated.
Dr Jones said: "When you look at these maps and see the proliferation of bombs dropped on the capital, it does illustrate the meaning of the word 'blitz', which comes from the German meaning lightning war. It seems astonishing that London survived the onslaught. The Bomb Sight project demonstrates the clustering together of lots of different data using the power of geography."
Dr Jones chose to focus on the period of the Blitz which saw the most intensive bombing period by the Luftwaffe which killed thousands and destroyed more than a million homes.
The Bomb Sight project uses a slightly longer timeframe for mapping what bombs fell where because it uses maps of the London Second World War bomb census, taken between October 1940 and June 1941 which until now has only been available to view in the reading room at the National Archives.
The locations of the bombs have been combined with geo-located photographs from the Imperial War Museum and geo-located memories from the BBC's WW2 People's War Archive. Users can manipulate the map and zoom into specific streets or boroughs as well as find out what type of bomb was dropped where.
Funded by higher education charity Jisc, Dr Jones has created a website and mobile app to make the interactive map available to the general public, especially students, teachers and citizen researchers.
Paola Marchionni, of Jisc, said: "The original Blitz maps have been scanned and geo-referenced thanks to the National Archive and testimonials from the BBC have been incorporated together with historical images from the Imperial War Museum to create an interactive teaching and learning resource that is similar to a map sat nav."
The website - which can be viewed at bombsight.org - allows people to find out where and what sort of bombs fell in their area, and explore photos and stories from those involved or affected by the war. The associated Android app allows users to point their phone at a street scene and, using the phone's camera and GPS, view the bombs that fell nearby.