William Smith Online

Geological Mapping

A geological map is a 2-dimensional representation of both 3-dimensional space and time. In colour it outlines the rock or strata found at the surface, and the faults and folds found within them. William Smith created the first geological map of England and Wales, and is credited with devising the methods of both recording and creating geological maps. The process of creating a geological map has developed considerably since the time of William Smith, but the foundation of his method remains.

“My map was published at a very unfortunate time...it had been deferred near 14 years.”

Taken from Smith's autobiography, 6 June, 1839

William Smith's most famous geological map was his 1815 map entitled, "A delineation of strata of England and Wales". A 'zoomable' version of the Museum's copy of this map can be found here.

To learn more about geological mapping and to find resources about the history of mapping and geological maps today, visit the other pages in this section.