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Here be dragons: embellishing castles of the past

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About the map

It was thought that there were once over 1,500 castles scattered across the UK, but how many are still standing? A testament to their structural integrity and true grit (literally), we were impressed to see how many remain.

We created an interactive map for viewers to learn about these landmarks. We also included information about each structure’s nearest neighbouring castle. Although the data doesn’t show if it was a friend or foe, click through to decide for yourself!

You can relive this cartographic quest by checking out the Putting the ArcGIS cartography tools through their paces session from our 2023 Annual Conference.

Why it works

Mimicking a weathered reference map of yore, this web GIS map has been styled for an old-time theme with all the tools and interactivity that comes with the digital age.

What initially looks like a scorched map becomes a smattering of castles as viewers zoom in. Equipped with more than just a drawbridge, each castle encourages you to engage with the map through their pop-ups. The pop-ups stick to the medieval theme and provides more details about the historic site.

A crinkled paper texture, stains and even scorch marks, add drama to the map. We then used a visible range to reveal the individual sites for your area of interest and added additional layers for extra narrative.

Important Steps




Tips and tricks


Links & Resources

Eve Selbie

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