Mapping the Saxon Shore

Unlike Hadrian's Wall, the British portion of the Saxon Shore has not attracted many attempts to provide an overall plan of it. Such maps as there are tend to be within books on the subject. In Litore Saxonico would, therefore, appear to be something of a 'first'!

The present atlas is being made available as a Google Earth KMZ file, a Google Maps link, and Microsoft Virtual Earth links. The three technologies differ considerably: whilst Google Earth holds the data as an XML file on your computer, Microsoft's Virtual Earth stores it on a remote server and, crucially, currently has a limit of 200 items in any one Collection. Whilst this is not too problematical for the few sites of the Saxon Shore, this limits the usefulness of the Microsoft version. Details of how to use these two systems are included below. Google Maps, meantime, looks up the KMZ file here on In Litore Saxonico and interprets it for you in two dimensions.

Google Earth

The following illustration gives some idea of what to expect from Google Earth:

Google Earth Saxon Shore atlas

This is only version 0.4 and if you have any comments, suggestions etc, then let me know (but beware the spam traps).

Link to KMZ fileDownload ils-04.kmz now (1Mb)

Layer with plans

Instructions for use

In contrast to Per Lineam Valli, the use of layers is minimal in this atlas. Plans of the various forts are available as overlays (although these have not been activated for the download and will need to be switched on using the sidebar).

Select a layer using the tick box (obviously, if it is ticked, it will be visible). Click on the small '+' sign in a box and the various components of that layer will become visible. It is also possible to turn these individual components off and on as is required.

Clicking on a component will reveal a Bubble with information about the site (although this is not usually true of linear elements). The marked-up source of this information can be reached by right-clicking on a component and selecting Properties. Additionally, double-clicking on a component will take you straight to it, usually at a height of 1000m, and you may then zoom in or out as you require.

Don't forget that you can fly around the Saxon Shore by typing CTRL-ALT-A for Google Earth's inbuilt flight simulator (from version 4.2 onwards), where you can use your mouse (or even a joystick) to control your journey.

To keep a permanent copy of the file, right click on the In Litore Saxonico v.X level and select 'Save to My Places'. Remember to check back here for updates.

Google Maps

This is a two-dimensional interpretation of the data in the Google Earth file. What it lacks in graphical gimickry, it more than makes up for in terms of portability and accessibility.

View Larger Map

Microsoft Virtual Earth (

This Virtual Earth Collection is converted 'on the fly' from the same KMZ file used for the Google Map above. It will work in 2D in most operating systems and on some browsers (notably Firefox), but in 3D only in Windows using Internet Explorer. Selecting the link below will open it in a separate window (or tab, depending upon how your browser is configured).

In Litore Saxonico on Microsoft Live Search Maps
(well, that's what it's called this week!).