§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH (Fermanagh, N.)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether the Ordnance Survey maps were formerly printed in Ireland from copper-plates, and are they at present printed in England from zinc-plates; are maps printed from zinc-plates inferior to copper-plate maps; and will he have the recent Survey maps, for example, the six inch maps for county Leitrim, compared by an expert with the maps of the former Survey, and ask for his report whether the old standard of excellence, either in printing or paper, is maintained in the new Survey.
(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) The maps on a scale of six-inch to a mile were formerly engraved on copper, but they have been printed by means of zinc-plates for very many years past both in England and Ireland. The processes adopted give a good clear result, they are far cheaper and more rapid than engraving, and the maps can, by this means, be placed in the hands of the public within a reasonable time of the survey or revision. In the case of the county of Leitrim, the maps published in 1882–6 were drawn on stone as an experiment. Various causes contributed to the deterioration of the stones, and within the last few years it has been found necessary to reproduce by helio-zincography twenty-two out of thirty-eight sheets comprising the county, so as to bring them up to the standard of other six-inch maps. The county of Leitrim is now being re-surveyed on the twenty-five-inch scale, and within the next few years existing maps will be superseded. There is no necessity to resort to expert advice outside the Ordnance Survey in the matter.