Using HLAmap


HLAmap is a comprehensive summary of landscape-scale information that can be accessed with a single click. It covers the whole of Scotland and draws together information on past and modern land uses.

Why use HLAmap?

The historic dimension of the landscape is relevant to all sorts of studies – these are just a few:

  • Developing an understanding of local geography and history – HLAmap helps you see how land use has changed over time
  • Informing decisions about land use change – HLAmap helps you understand the land use history of a place
  • Managing strategic landscape decisions – HLAmap ensures that you have an understanding of the landscape and how aspects of it have evolved
  • Identifying areas where further historical and archaeological survey could usefully be targeted – you can compare HLAmap with other sources of data and identify opportunities for further fieldwork

The time-depth can be very revealing, showing facets of the historic evolution of human influence on the landscape.

What is in HLAmap?

HLAmap plots extant land-uses at a scale of 1:25,000, describing them by function and period. It maps both current and, where still surviving, previous land uses. An area used today as rough grazing may have physical evidence for prehistoric settlement and agriculture. A town centre may still bear witness to its origins as a medieval burgh. A 2nd World War airfield may now be an industrial estate. A forestry plantation ploughed and planted in the later-20th century may hide medieval or post-medieval fields and farming. A wide range of land uses are explored, including settlement and agriculture, defence and recreation, mineral extraction and afforestation.

What sources are used to create HLAmap?

HLAmap uses current and historical sources. Data has been collected from various editions of Ordnance Survey maps, vertical and oblique aerial photographs, records held in publicly accessible historic environment records, land registers maintained by government bodies, and various other resources. A few land uses may have changed since the data was imported into the database – a process that began in 1996 - but overall the assessment is very robust.

HLAmap on-line

You can explore HLAmap on-line through this website to see the extent of modern land uses alongside those of historic or archaeological periods that still survive in some form or other on the ground. The map is interactive and offers different views of the data. For example, you can look at modern and past land uses separately, compare the two, or examine the different periods that survive in the landscape. You can also view other sources of data to add site-based detail to HLAmap.

To Begin will help you use the map on-line, while the Case Studies will give you ideas about how to use it for your chosen area or interest. Alternatively, you can download the data that makes up HLAmap for tailored use through your own GIS mapping software.