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National Mapping Programme

The National Mapping Programme (NMP) is a standard for mapping and recording archaeological sites and landscapes from aerial photographs and other airborne remote sensed data such as lidar.  The National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) provides the framework for NMP projects, in particular NHPP Activity 3A4: Identification of Terrestrial Assets via Non-Intrusive Survey.

Progress map for NMP up till end June 2014

Transforming Our Understanding

NMP projects transform our understanding of past land use through identification and analysis of previously unrecorded archaeological landscapes.  Millions of aerial photographs of England, held in archives, and new technology, such as airborne laser scanning (lidar), record archaeological sites. These sites are seen as earthworks and structures visible above the ground or as buried remains revealed as cropmarks.

The best way to provide a synthesis of archaeological information on aerial photographs is in the form of a map with accompanying descriptions of sites and landscapes. NMP developed to provide a national standard for archaeological mapping and recording with consistent aerial sources, archaeological scope, and methods. NMP projects provide an overview of our impact on the landscape from the Neolithic period (about 6000 years ago) through to the Cold War.  This information is used for research and management of change in the historic environment.

Archaeologists working on NMP discuss air photo interpretation

Archaeologists working on NMP discuss air photo interpretation

Find out more about NMP

Find summaries of most NMP projects through the list on the left including downloadable reports. The detailed results (mapping and monument records) are available from English local Historic Environment Records and the English Heritage Archive Enquiry Services.  Access the monument records via the Heritage Gateway.

NMP projects investigate the historic environment at a landscape scale. This could be distinct topographical areas, such as river valleys, uplands, or the coast, land subject to strategic threats   or designated landscapes, like National Parks. See the the NMP Strategy for a framework for planning future projects.

The National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme fund NMP work in support of NHPP activities.  Project proposals can be submitted at any time, or in response to a Call for Proposals.  The English Heritage Aerial Investigation and Mapping team develop standards, provide training and undertake key NMP projects.

Find advice on planning projects using aerial photographs in Morphe Project Planning Note 7 Interpretation and mapping from aerial photographs and other aerial remote sensed data.



Heritage Gateway

To access information on monuments recorded by NMP go to the Heritage Gateway