New ‘4D Somme’ Interactive Map of the Battlefields Launched

1 July 2016 | Hannah Clark

A new interactive visualisation of the landscape of the Battle of the Somme has been launched by Queen’s University Belfast to coincide with the centenary of the opening day of the battle on July 1 1916.

4D Somme Home Page

Called ‘4D Somme’, the idea behind the visualisation is to show how the battlefield changed over the course of 1916, from July 1 to November 18, as the British front-line slowly edged eastwards.

‘4D Somme’ uses the latest in Geographical Information Systems technologies to create interactive digital maps of the frontline by combining historic trench maps used at the time of the battle with modern day aerial imagery of the Somme landscape. It’s aimed at a wide audience, from community groups, to school teachers and students, to battlefield visitors and tourists.

An AHRC funded programme linked to the centenary of WW1, in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), created five WW1 public engagement centres across the UK in 2014, and ‘4D Somme’ results from the ongoing research of one of these engagement centres, ‘Living Legacies 1914-18’ based at Queen’s University Belfast.

For many across the UK, and beyond, the Battle of the Somme is a key point in the commemoration of WW1, with much public and media interest in who fought where, yet visiting the battlefield is not possible for everyone. And so ‘4D Somme’ is designed to allow users to explore the battlefield virtually, showing in detail the locations of trench systems as well as the front-line itself.

The focus of the ‘4D Somme’ story-map is on the particular area of the Somme that saw action by battalions that were raised from Ireland, notably the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division.

For more information visit 4D Somme.