London, 20th February 2013 – Caerphilly County Borough Council has made innovative use of its local address dataset for the benefit of the local community.
Working with the Aber Valley Heritage Group to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 Senghenydd Colliery Explosion, which saw four hundred and thirty nine miners and one rescuer lose their lives, they mapped the addresses of all the victims to draw attention to the scale of the tragedy.
The project was untaken as part of a new community website with a section devoted to the UK’s worst ever mining disaster, not only to commemorate the centenary, but as part of a wider campaign to honour the many thousands of individuals who have perished keeping our industries running, our homes warm and our ships afloat.
In pursuit of original content, the names and addresses of the victims were extracted from the century‑old official inquest and inquiry documents, which were then tidied up and matched to the council’s local address dataset. It was through this matching process that geographical coordinates were added, making it possible to visually represent where the miners had lived at the time of the disaster.
“While not technically ground-breaking, it was definitely innovative,” explained Phil Mountain, GIS Project Manager at Caerphilly. “Nothing like it appears to have been attempted before, and we believe the data adds real value to the website by illustrating historical data in a present day context.”
“Through the interactive map, there is a striking impression in the density of distress, house after house, street after street, and also the unexpected aspects in the distance some men travelled to work – some from as far as Cardiff docklands.”
The website was launched by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, on 28th June 2012 and for the first time, the community now has a website to help broadcast their story and publicise their memorial campaign. With the help of Caerphilly County Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, local Community Councils and many individuals, the Aber Valley Heritage group have so far raised £100,000 for the memorial.
To find out more about local address datasets, visit www.geoplace.co.uk or to see the map, visit your.caerphilly.gov.uk/abervalleyheritage/1913-pit-disaster/mapping-tragedy
GeoPlace is a public sector limited liability partnership between the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey. GeoPlace’s role is to create and maintain the National Address Gazetteer and the National Street Gazetteer for England and Wales, providing definitive sources of publicly-owned spatial address and street data for Great Britain. Through agreement with Scotland’s Improvement Service Company, coverage has been extended to include Scotland’.