Locating a map reference?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Chris C, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi all,

    Is there any way to break down and understand the location referred to by a map reference? How were the numbers determined?

    What I'm looking at is August 28, '44 - 56 Battery of the 6th Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment ordered to MRO89983.

    (They were then assigned to accompany the 7th Recce Regiment on September 3 and set off on a recce.)
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    How do you find a grid reference?
    Go ''along the corridor & up the stairs'' .

    How to Read Grid references

    What was the nearest town ?
    Once we know the general area they were in we can use this to pinpoint that map ref.
    The "Coordinates Translator"

    Would they have been crossing the Seine around Elbeuf area about that time ?

    EDIT : Is that map ref correct ?

    Suitable maps here.
    France AMS Topographic Maps - Perry-Castañeda Map Collection - UT Library Online

    I would have said sheet 8E or 8F but the co-ords don't fit.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    I assume you are referring to this entry in the war diary
    War diaries : T-16719 - Héritage

    Its 089983 The war diary assumed the reader would know map sheet and lettered square from the context 089893.jpg t.
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  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Sheldrake beat me to it. Excellent!

    Always helpful to bear in mind that the War Diary should mention which maps are being used on a daily basis in addition to any map references quoted.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Thank you, guys, map 8F and that location make total sense, but I feel stupid for not having provided the reference.

    ... If the map coordinates are read eastward and northward, why is 8E to the east and north of 8F, and not 8G?
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    There are so many maps now readily available on line - it's just a question of finding them - that I personally consider the co-ords translator way beyond its best by date.....and it can be misleading anyway by several hundred metres so you could argue it was never really fit for accurate purpose anyway.
  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The 1:100000 French maps have the number reading from west to east and the letter running from north to south. That means map 8E is directly north of 8F. I have a diagram that shows all this and will try to post it later tonight.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It's on that website I linked to.


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  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Oh, and I meant to say that the map NE of 8F was 9E... not 8E...

    My point is that the individual maps have an axis which runs south to north with increasing numbers but the map LETTERING goes north to south! It makes no sense! :-P
  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    The map numbers make total sense: basically letters left to right and numbers top to bottom. I agree the map coordinates themselves are then a little 'different' in concept and apparently make no sense with that south to north bit but - and this is only my personal theory- it makes sense if we assume the reader is using a rule of some sort to plot the map reference, in which case it makes sense to read above the rule because otherwise the rule would be covering the map reference. Sounds almost perverse but no different than the struggle that us left-handers find in everyday life where most things are designed for right-handed people. Bit of a digression from map references but hopefully it makes (my) logic a little easier to understand!
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just to compare the WW2 era map with 2004 dated IGN Top 100 map number 07 I have.

    ww2 map.JPG ign 07 crop.JPG

    maps together.JPG
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  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi all,

    Minor point tacking on to my previous thread. I was looking up a map reference from the WD of the 55th (Suffolk Hussars) A/T Reg't and they referred to map "7F/1". What was the "/1" for?
  14. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Each 100,000 square (rectangle) had a letter ('7F' was Caen and below) and was then broken down into 6 smaller 50,000 maps (7F/1 to 7F/6) with 1-2 at the top, 2-3 underneath and 5-6 on the bottom.
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  15. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Ahh! Thanks m kenny :)
  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    MR089983 - I would suggest that the MR stands for map reference, the full reference is vR089983 and using this on the translator site with the Nord de Guerre Zone you come up with the following location:

    Google Maps
  17. Steve Ann

    Steve Ann Member

    Thank you for putting this information up. Just used it with my research into op UNDERGO. Fantastic resource. Very very grateful to you.
    Chris C likes this.
  18. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve,
    please bear in mind that the point found by the translator can be between 150 metres and - some say - even 1000 metres off the mark. In a 1:25.000 scale 150 or 200 metres can make quite a difference. So it's better to use WW2 Maps to find the exact spot.
    Steve Ann likes this.
  19. Steve Ann

    Steve Ann Member

    Hi mate. Thanks for that. So far so good when finding the rough spot i am looking for it's great. I agree with you though if you want to pin point a spot . I have a British army original war map Calais 1:100000 but would like the 1:500 or 1:250 British/Canadian maps if you know where i can buy them. Regards Steve.
  20. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Do you mean 1:12.500 and 1:25.000?

    You may find some maps online and for free in the Excel list attached.

    Attached Files:

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