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Downloading and Converting Hi Resolution Trench Maps from McMaster Uni

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Please carefully read the McMaster University user agreement before attempting any of these processes.

With the intent of completely complying with the agreement, I have recently downloaded over 560 British Trench Maps from the McMaster University web site. These are very high resolution scans, occupying a total of 13.8 GB disk space. The size of each map differs, but for example the 1:10,000 maps produce a JPEG file of around 28 MB each.

My intended purpose is to assist me with studying Australian forces on the Western Front and to assist others looking for a location or reconciling a WW1 position with a contemporary Google or Bing map, given a little geospatial knowledge.

Please read the license agreement. When you have done this, then this article will show you how to download one or more maps, then convert the supplied JP2 file into a JPEG. There a several pitfalls that I learned by trial and error, so I will share these.

McMaster University's Digital Archive of World War 1 trench maps and aerial photographs is hosted at http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo:34. The instructions apply to any map in any order, but let us assume you want to download several and run a batch conversion to convert them to JPEG in one go.

For the sake of a tutorial approach, click on Trench maps and you will see a page with a preview of around 12 maps.

1 Click on the first map.

2 Your browser should be displaying a map with the title Trench map, World War, 1914-1918; , France. October, 1918 - 1:20,000. You can do lots of things on this page, but we only want to save it.

3 Click on "Download medium resolution (jp2)" or better still, right-click and select 'Save As'. Give the file a name that will be meaningful if you subsequently download a few of these. This one you might call Sheet 57A Le Nouvion October 1918 20,000.

4 The collection often has the same region at different dates or map scales. Download any others of interest.

You now have a collection in a file format that a standard build Windows PC cannot open. Even worse, the JP2 file format boasts two standards and a number of the popular image processing applications such as GIMP, that claim to handle JP2 will not open any of these files. Neither will some of the free image conversion programs, such as XnView. However, the highly-regarded IrfanView not only lets you view JP2 files and save them to JPEG, but ships with a batch converter that works flawlessly. It even lets you bulk rename files. And did I mention that it is free?

1 Vist http://www.irfanview.com/ and download and install from the Downloads page.

2 Now, from the same web site, download and install the JP2 plugin from the Plugins Downloads page.

3 Run IrfanView.

4 Click 'File', then 'Batch Conversion/Rename' for a group of maps, or just Save for a single map.

5 For batch conversions, select the directory where you downloaded the JP2 files to and click Add. Select the directory you want to store the JPEGs in. All the other defaults should suffice (JPG conversion as the output).

6 Click 'Start Batch'. Your screen should look like this:


Now wait! You are dealing with some large files and depending on your hardware, all operations take time. I used an older laptop and viewing a JP2 in IrfanView took 40 seconds to load and almost 10 minutes to convert to JPG. Opening and later closing the JPG in Windows File Viewer took 15 seconds but the resolution of the maps is very high.

This is a one-off operation and you will need patience. The power management on my laptop would stop the conversion and it took 3 solid days to complete a third. I swapped to another laptop with more memory which converted maps in around 4 minutes each and finished the job in a day.

Overall, I spent a week downloading, a weekend converting and as I use cloud storage, 3 days uploading. However, I am well pleased with the final result as the JPEG files load quite quickly and the detail is great. My thanks to McMaster for making this collection available and to Irfan Skiljan for his flawless conversion utility.

I chose not to download maps from Gallipoli or other theatres. My results were:

Peter Chasseaud Collection:

* 188 maps of 1:10k scale; 5.0 GB

Trench maps; 8.85 GB

* 1:5,000; 3 maps

* 1:10,000; 64

* 1:20,000; 146

* 1:40,000; 76

* 1:100,000; 75

* 1:250,000; 8

* Misc 6

I am happy to help anyone with questions.

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Here is the Chasseaud Collection coverage of 1:10,000 trench maps. A numbered series means maps of different dates:

AAA Map 1
AAA Map 2
Armentieres 1
Armentieres 2
Arras 1
Arras 2
Arras 3
Aubers 1
Aubers 2
Aubers 3
Bapaume 1
Beaumont 1
Beaumont 2
Beaumont 3
Bois Grenier 1
Bois Grenier
Boisleux 1
Boisleux 2
Bouchavesnes 1
Bullecourt 1
Fonquevillers 1
Gheluvelt 1
Gueudecourt 1
Hebuterne 1
Hebuterne 2
Kemmel 1917 - 10,000
La Bassee 1
La Bassee 2
La Bassee 3
La Bassee 4
La Bassee
Le Sars 1
Le Sars
Lens 2
Lens 3
Lens 4
Longueval 1
Longueval 2
Loos 1
Loos 2
Loos 3
Loos 4
Maricourt 1
Maricourt 2
Meaulte 1
Neuville Vitasse 1
Neuville Vitasse 2
Neuville Vitasse 3
Neuville Vitasse 4
Neuville Vitasse 5
Neuville Vitasse
North East France, January, 1914 - 40,000
Oppy 1
Oppy 2
Ovillers 1
Ovillers 2
Ovillers 3
Ovillers 4
Ploegsteert 1
Ploegsteert 2
Ploegsteert 4
Poperinghe 1
Radinghem 1
Ransart 1
Regular Series 20k
Richebourg 1
Richebourg 2
Richebourg 3
Richebourg 4
Roclincourt 2
Roclincourt 3
Roclincourt 4
Rouvroy 1
St Julien 1
St Julien
view (1)
view (2)
Villers-au-Flos 1
Vimy 1
Vimy 2
Vimy 3
Vis-en-Artois 1
Vis-en-Artois 2
Wervicq 1
Wytschaete 1
Wytschaete 2
Wytschaete 3
Wytschaete 4
Wytschaete 5
Wytschaete 6
Wytschaete 7
Wytschaete Ploegsteert
Ypres 1
Ypres 2
Zillebeke 1
Zonnebeke 1
Zonnebeke 2
Zonnebeke 3
Zonnebeke 4
Zonnebeke 5

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Digital Archive Maps:

Faub St Sauveur
Mont Kemmel
Scale 1:5,000
Neuville St. Vaast
Unknown January 1917
Scale 1:10,000
Abbas Ridge
Ablaincourt January 1915
Albert January 1915
Albert January 1916
Amiens May 1918
Armentieeres April 1918
Arras 1 March 1917
Arras January 1917
Arras March 1917
Aubers January 1916
Auchy December 1917
Beaucamp 1
Beaurains March 1917
Becquincourt January 1915
Becquincourt January 1917
Bethune January 1916
Bullecourt July 1917
Bullecourt March 1917
Cherisy 10,000
Cherisy March 1917
Cherisy May 1917
Cherisy Third Army Weekly Trench Map
Combles January 1916
Gaurelle May 1917
Gommecourt January 1916
Gouzeaucourt February 1917
Hargicourt December 1917
Hendecourt April 1917
La Bassee December 1917
La Fere January 1918
Labis Farm August 1918
Lens February 1917
Lens January 1916
Lievin February 1917
Loos First Army Front Area January 1917
Loos January 1917
Loos Lens January 1916
Loos Lens May 1917
Maricourt January 1915
Meteren May 1918
Monchy January 1915
Montauban January 1915
Montauban January 1916
Puisieux-au-Mont January 1915
Queant May 1917
Quesnoy April 1918
Quesnoy November 1917
Ransart December 1916
Ransart January 1915
Remigny November 1917
Richebourg January 1916
Sheet 57d SE Thiepval 1915-01 Scale 10,000
Suzanne April 1916
Swartenbrouch 10,000
Tergnier November 1917
Thelus March 1917
Thiepval January 1915
Vaux January 1915
Vimy January 1916
Scale 1:20,000
Albert 1, France January, 1916
Albert 1, France May, 1918
Albert, France April, 1918
Albert, France B Series January, 1915
Albert, France December, 1916
Albert, France January, 1916
Albert, France May, 1918
Albert, France September, 1918
Amiens-Moreuil, Inf Stellungskarte June, 1918 - 25,000
Armentieres, France August, 1918
Armentieres, France January, 1916
Armentieres, France October, 1917
Arques, France May, 1918
Arras 1, France January, 1918
Arras, France January, 1917
Arras, France January, 1918
Arras, France July, 1918
Arras, France October, 1917
Arras, Intelligence Logic Target Map July, 1918
Aubers, France July, 1918
Bailleul, Groupe Des Canevas de Tir
Bapaume, France August, 1918
Bapaume, France June, 1918
Bapaume, France May, 1917
Bapaume, France November, 1917
Barleux, France March, 1917
Bavay, October, 1918
Beaurains, France April, 1918
Beaurains, France January, 1916
Beaurains, France June, 1917
Beaurains, France March, 1917
Beaurains, France May, 1918
Bellicourt France March 1918
Bellicourt, France June, 1917
Bellicourt, France March, 1918
Bermerain, France September, 1918
Bertincourt 1, France March, 1918
Bertincourt, France April, 1917
Bertincourt, France June, 1917
Bertincourt, France March, 1917
Bertincourt, France March, 1918
Bethune, France January, 1916
Bohain 1, France September, 1918
Bohain, France September, 1918 - 20,00
Bourlon, Corps Topo Outline Reference September, 1918
Bourlon, Special November, 1917
Boves, France July, 1918
Caix, France August, 1918
Caix, Intelligence Log Target Map July, 1918
Cambrai, France August, 1918
Cambrai, Intelligence Target Map September, 1918
Chaulnes, France January, 1917
Combles 1, France January, 1916
Combles, France August, 1918
Combles, France January, 1916
Combles, France January, 1917
Courtrai, Belgium September, 1918
Dadizeele 1, September, 1918
Dadizeele, September, 1918
Denain, France September, 1918
Driencourt, Fourth Army Front Area March, 1917
Epinoy, France April, 1917
France October, 1918
Freesnicourt, France B Series
Fresnoy-Les-Roye, France August, 1918
Gommecourt, France B Series January, 1915
Gommecourt, France February, 1917
Gommecourt, France January, 1916
Gommecourt, France May, 1918
Gouzeaucourt, Special
Habarcq, France
Harbonnieres, France July, 1918
Hattencourt 1, August, 1918
Hattencourt, August, 1918
Havrincourt, September, 1917 - 25,000
Hazebrouck, UNKNOWN,
Hendecourt, France B Series January, 1915
Hendecourt, France January, 1916
Hendecourt, France January, 1917
Hendecourt, France May 1918
Hendecourt, France September, 1917
Iwuy, France September, 1918
La Mottee, April, 1918
Le Cateau 1, France September, 1918
Le Cateau, France September, 1918
Lens Positions Map
Lens, France
Lens, France December, 1917
Lens, France February, 1917
Lens, France July, 1917
Lens, France June, 1917
Licques, May, 1918
Loos, France June, 1918
Loos, France May, 1917
Maissemy, September, 1918
Mametz 1, France January, 1916
Mametz 2, France January, 1916
Mametz, France January, 1915
Mametz, France January, 1916
Marchiennes Ville, France October, 1918
Merville, France June, 1918
Miraumont, France February, 1917
Miraumont, Special December, 1916
Neuve Chapelle, France B Series January, 1915
North East France, France January, 1914 - 864,000
Nurta 1, France August, 1918
Nurta, France August, 1918
Nurta, France March, 1917
Orchies, Belgium and part of France October, 1918
Peronne August 1918
Peronne, France - 25,000
Peronne, France August, 1918
Peronne, France January, 1915
Peronne, France January, 1916
Peruwelz, Belgium and part of France October, 1918
Picquigny, France May, 1918
Pozieres, France January, 1916 -20,000
Queant 1, France August 1918
Queant May 1917
Queant, France August, 1918
Queant, France June, 1917
Queant, France May, 1917
Queant, May, 1917
Renaix, October, 1918
Roulers, Belgium October, 1917
Sheet 12 Westkerke 1917-06 Scale 20,000
Sheet 57a NW 1918-10 Scale 20,000
St Amand-Ies Eaux, France October, 1918
St Emilie, UNKNOWN,
St Gobain, France December, 1917
St Omer, France January, 1916
St Quentin, France August, 1918
Tergnier, France February, 1918
Valenciennes, France October, 1918
Vauchelles, June, 1917
Vitry-En-Artois, France January, 1918
Vitry-En-Artois, France September, 1918
Walincourt, France April, 1917
Walincourt, France April, 1918
Walincourt, France August, 1918
Western Front, 1918 - 600,000
Westkerke, Belgium June, 1917
Scale 1:40,000
Albert 1, France April, 1917
Albert 2, France April, 1917
Albert 3, France April, 1917
Albert, France April, 1917
Albert, France March, 1918
Amiens, France
Armentieres, Belgium and France January, 1916
Arras 1, France April, 1917
Arras, France April, 1917
Arras, France March, 1917
Arras, France October, 1917
Avesnes 1, France January, 1916
Avesnes, France January, 1916
Bailleul, April, 1918
Bapaume 1, France November, 1917
Bapaume 2, France November, 1917
Beaufort, France February, 1917
Beaufort, France January, 1915
Beaufort, France June, 1918
Beaumont 1, Belgium and France October, 1918
Beaumont, Belgium and France October, 1918
Bethune 1, France January, 1916
Bethune 2, France January, 1916
Bethune, France January, 1915
Bethune, France January, 1916
Bethune, France January, 1918
Bethune, France May, 1917
Cambrai, France December, 1917
Cambrai, France May, 1917
Cambrai, France September, 1918
Charleroi Belgium January 1915
Corbie, France January, 1916
Corbie, France May, 1918
Courtrai, Belgium and France May, 1917
Courtrai, October, 1918
Dunkerque 1, Belgium and France October, 1917
Dunkerque, Belgium and France October, 1917
Fressin, France July, 1918
Ham 1, France November, 1917
Ham, France November, 1917
Hautmont, Belgium and France October, 1918
Lens, Corps Topo Outline Reference September, 1918
Lens, France January, 1916
Lille, Belgium and France February, 1918
Lille, Belgium and France January, 1915
Lys Valley, December, 1917
Maubeuge, Belgium and France January, 1917
Meharicourt, France January, 1915
Montdidier, France November, 1917
Nivelles, Belgium October, 1918
Peronne 1, France December, 1917
Peronne 2, France December, 1917
Peronne, France December, 1917
Poperinghe, Belgium and France January, 1915
Poperinghe, Belgium and France May, 1917
Recques, August, 1918
Selles, Areas and Training Facilities May, 1918
Sheet 45 Jemappes 1918-09 40,000
Sheet 57d Albert 1917-04 Scale 40,000
St Amand, Belgium and France September, 1918
St Omer, Areas and Training Facilities August, 1918
St Omer, Areas and Training Facilities June, 1918
St Quentin, France December, 1917
Suzanne, France July, 1916
Tenhoves, August, 1918
Tournai, Belgium and France January, 1915
Tournai, Belgium and France March, 1917
Valenciennes 1, France September, 1918
Valenciennes 2, France September, 1918
Valenciennes, France January, 1918
Valenciennes, France September, 1918
Ypres 1, Belgium and France February, 1917
Ypres, Belgium and France February, 1917
Ypres, France January, 1918
Ypres, Situation Map September, 1917
Scale 1:100,000
Abbeville, Fourth Army Front Area January, 1916
Abbeville, France January, 1916
Abbeville, France November, 1915
Amiens 1918-09
Amiens, France January, 1914
Amiens, France January, 1916
Amiens, France November, 1915
Amiens, Third Army Weekly Trench Map
Antwerp Belgium January 1916
Antwerp, Belgium January, 1916
Army Area Map April, 1918
Arras Western Front New January 1917
Arras, Western Front New Series January, 1917
Beauvais 1, France August, 1916
Beauvais, France August, 1916
Bethune, First Army Front Area January, 1916
Boulogne-St Omer, Army Area Map July, 1918
Bruges, Western Front 1 New Series
Bruges-Ghent, Belgium January, 1912
Brussels, Belgium January, 1915
Brussels, Belgium January, 1916
Calais - St Omer, Areas and Training Facilities April, 1918
Calais 1, France January, 1917
Calais, France January, 1915
Calais, France January, 1917
Cambrai 1, Belgium May, 1915
Cambrai, Belgium April, 1916
Cambrai, Belgium January, 1916
Cambrai, Belgium May, 1915
Cambrai, France May, 1915
Cambrai, Situation Map New Series January, 1917
Cambrai, Western Front New Series January, 1917
Charleroi 1, Belgium December, 1910
Charleroi 2, Belgium December, 1910
Charleroi 3, Belgium December, 1910
Charleroi 4, Belgium December, 1910
Charleroi Belgium December 1910
Cologne, Germany November, 1918
Dieppe, France July, 1916
Dieppe, France October, 1915
Doullens, Third Army Traffic Map March, 1918
Dunkerque, Belgium February, 1917
Dunkerque, Belgium January, 1915
Ghent, Army Area Map Belgium
Ghent, Belgium June, 1915
Ghent, Situation Map 2A New Series
Hazebrouck 1, Belgium January, 1916
Hazebrouck, Belgium January, 1916
Hirson, Situation Map 5B New Series
Lens, France January, 1915
Lens, France January, 1916
Liege, Belgium January, 1911
Liege, Belgium January, 1912
Lille, Situation Map New Series June, 1917
Marche, Belgium January, 1912
Maubeuge, Situation Map New Series
Mezieres, France January, 1916
Mezieres, France November, 1915
Mons, Situation Map New Series
Namur, Belgium December, 1910
Namur, Belgium January, 1916
Ostend-Armentieres, Belgium January, 1911
Soissons 1, France January, 1917
Soissons, France January, 1917
St Omer - Ypres, March, 1918
St Omer, Army Area Map July, 1918
St Omer-Ypres, Belgium January, 1915
St Omer-Ypres, Belgium January, 1916
St Quentin, France January, 1916
Third Army Front, September, 1917
Tournai, Belgium January, 1916
Tournai, Belgium May, 1916
Vaux, France January, 1916
Western Front New Series January, 1917
Ypres, Situation Map New Series July, 1917
Scale 1:250,000
Amiens, North West Europe May, 1918
Brussels, North West Europe August, 1914
Cambrai, North West Europe April, 1918
Cambrai, North West Europe February, 1915
Cologne, North West Europe February, 1916
Cologne, November, 1918
Ghent, North West Europe February, 1915
Western Front,
Very Large Scale
Dunkerque, German Order of Battle - 1,000,000
Western Front, March, 1918 - 600,000

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I normally download by clicking 'High Resolution' . I can zoom and move quite easily. Does your method save on disc space?

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No doubt you will take some time to look at each map in detail. A massive undertaking to download all those maps.

Be aware that some may not be what you expect. One of the Albert maps is actually a French map of 1914 showing coverage of the northern part of the Western Front up to the coast.


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Why not use the National Library of Scotland trench map page which has maps as zoomable overlays on modern Google or Bing maps http://maps.nls.uk/ww1/trenches/index.html


McMaster Maps are free. From what I can see the NLS maps are not.


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They are free to access and are already overlaid on modern maps. You can view various dates of the same trench map keeping the same modern map and there is no need to download 13.8 GB and then overlay every map for each year. Click a mouse and your there.


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Eddie, appreciate your posts on this. However, my instructions are for those who may not have a fast internet connection always at their hand or who prefer to open and navigate a local image. I also use NLS and it is a most useful resource. I am not advocating a single approach, just issuing instructions for those who want a local, always available trench map.



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Thanks very much for your guide to downloading and converting these trench maps. I have used them but your helpful step by step instructions have convinced me to get them onto my external hard drive.

Thank you


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You have put a lot of work into this very valuable contribution. Many thanks for the welcome tutorial, and the comprehensive list of maps. It is an outstanding effort.

Best wishes


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many thanks for the NLS link.

Great to be able to fade the overlay trench map in and out.

Amazing seeing some of the roads that my grandfather marched up still there, some ploughed under but you can still see them on the Google image.



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Thanks for taking the time and effort to publish the download instructions.


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Bill thank you I thought I had lost it I will have some exiting moments going through it. I am preparing a web site for a dear lady in her 90s who is wanting to preserve the fascinating story of her father and his war service and survival. The first injury occurred near Ypres I was trying to find a more appropriate map to highlight the location. I have read the rules about copying and using maps rest assured I will do only as permitted. Many thanks I am always pleased to help in return. Best wishes Colin.

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Black Watch

What a great resource

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Thank you for passing on your knowledge on map conversions very much appreciated. Have had many frustrating hours trying to open these files, and some opened ok without converting which made it more confusing.

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sorry to ressurect an old thread, but what types of map would be best to view to to see where a siege battery was? trench maps or something else?

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MrEd, always good to see a member use an existing thread!


Nothing beats using a trench map to find out exactly where they where and then display the location on a modern map.  The National Library of Scotland is probably your best way of putting in a location and seeing on a Google Earth style display.  For a single location, this is all you need.  For multiple locations, tmapper.com converts them all and displays them on Google Earth.  Each location has a clickable link to National Library of Scotland so you can overlay the trench map.

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ahh brilliant thanks, the war diary fro my grandfathers unit has some really specific locations in it and details of places like 'black watch corner' polygon wood'etc.

I would like to do a timeline of where they were and what they were doing and go visit them in order :)

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MrEd, once you have the latitude and longitude you can do this in Google Earth and by putting in the date for each location, have Google show a slider so that you can follow a unit in chronological order.  Sing out for any help.


Master this in a few hours and you can visit the Western Front.  Do a bulk conversion in tmapper.  Load pins into Google Maps, right click and select 'Directions to here'.  Multi-country data SIMS are now cheap and prolific (ours was from Three and covered Belgium, France, Ireland and UK).


Nothing beats mapping a bunker, having Google's voice on a tablet saying 'you have arrived at your destination' and spotting it.  In 2016 and 2018 we followed trench map locations from the 11th AIF Brigade unit war diary and navigated to bunkers they used, a filled in Brigade HQ on the Somme and in obscure locations, undamaged trench segments, with the trench line full of new growth and an intersecting communication trench.  Still waist-deep after being abandoned in September 1918 and surrounded by shell craters.

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Wow I like the idea of the slider in google earth!


olan is to get all the information together then go and follow in the footsteps of my grandfather for for the year he was at Ypres until he got injured 


fantastic stuff, shall download google earth and what not and give it all a go :)

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