The Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-1755 : an analysis utilising the dual concepts of map form and content
The Military Survey of Scotland provides a remarkably detailed and extensive record of the Scottish mainland immediately prior to the fundamental changes wrought by the agricultural improving movement. Frequently utilised as a source by historians and historical geographers, the landscape which it portrays has invariably been accepted at face-value. However, preliminary investigation revealed that both the Original Protraction and Fair Copy were unreliable and this resulted in a programme of research being initiated to ascertain the accuracy of the maps which comprise the Military Survey. Skelton's (1967) dual concepts of map form and content were utilised as a framework for the thesis and this enabled the Military Survey to be examined both as an artifact and as an inventory of the mid-eighteenth century Scottish landscape. A Production/Product matrix was devised and the relative impact of each stage of the cartographic construction process upon accuracy was analysed. Written and cartographic evidence were used in tandem and, where material was not extant, replication was undertaken to generate facsimile documentation. Replication is an original technique, devised and developed to fulfil the specific requirements of this thesis, but which a has potential applications elsewhere in historical cartographic research. The Original Protraction and Fair Copy were differentiated with regard to both planimetric and topographic accuracy and, although the former was found to be more reliable, neither could be recommended as an accurate depiction of the Scottish countryside circa 1750. The incorporation of independent cartographic sources into the Military Survey was investigated and four of the larger settlements were found to have been drawn from pre-existing town plans and to field-mapping data. The rationale behind the creation of the Military Survey was also examined and the generally-held assumption that the intention of the draughting personnel was to produce a military map was discounted. Strong evidence was found to support an alternative hypothesis that the Military Survey was intended as a gift.