Map Your Bristol was created as part of Know Your Bristol On the Move - a collaborative project between the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and several Bristol community groups. Know Your Bristol on the Move aims to enable people to explore, research and co-create Bristol history, heritage and culture using digital tools like this website.

The content of the community map layers were developed by community groups and researchers from the University of Bristol between December 2013 and May 2015. To gather content and incite interest, each group deployed different methods from research days, panel discussions and interviews to walks, music gigs, film screenings and theatrical performances. On the schools layer, the content was created by students as part of their year 8 and 9 extra curricular work. Students also contributed to the look and feel of Map Your Bristol through user-testing sessions in early phases of the project.

At the centre of the Know Your Bristol project and of this Map Your Bristol site, is the idea that individuals and communities can and should be able to tell their own stories, to narrate their own histories and record and curate for re-presentation, their own cultural artefacts as ‘heritage’. With this in mind, we see the initial eight community projects as a beginning and hope that Map Your Bristol as a tool will continue to be used, reused and perhaps even re-purposed in ways we had never imagined.


Know Your Bristol on the Move is the second phase of a longer project called Know Your Bristol. Between 2012 and 2013 Know Your Bristol worked with local residents’ groups to create a ‘community history layer’ on Bristol City Council’s online interactive map, Know Your Place. On the Know Your Place map users can ‘peel away layers’ to reveal historic maps of the city, and in doing so, see how the urban landscape has transformed over time. Creating a ‘community layer’ on the map meant bringing people together to enrich the map with their own content. At a series of events co-designed with local residents, people brought stories about each place, including family histories and memories of places, as well as films, family photographs, and historical artifacts. These stories, images, films and objects were ‘digitised’ – digitally photographed or recorded – and then uploaded on to the map and linked to their place of origin or significance. Now publicly available on Know Your Place, these digitised stories and images form part of an ever-growing resource about Bristol and its heritage.

Building on the success of working with communities to enrich the Know Your Place map, Know Your Bristol set out to achieve a wider ‘impact’: to connect with more Bristol residents, but especially those whose stories tended to be absent from official histories and maps of the city. With this aim in mind, the project assumed its current name and form: Know Your Bristol on the Move. This current phase of the project involves four key strands:

1. Augmenting the existing Know Your Place Website: Much like initial phase of the project, this involves working with groups to upload content to the Know Your Place map.

2. Know Your Bus: This is a bus fully equipped with the latest audio-visual archiving technologies. The bus travels around the city offering a mobile space for people to come together to share and digitise artefacts, recount and record stories.

3. Map Your Bristol: Map Your Bristol, has been developed specially for Know Your Bristol. While similar to Know Your Place, it aims to be simpler to modify and is not centrally moderated. Map Your Bristol allow users to add multiple images, videos and text as well as to create whole new community layers allowing individuals and groups to map the city in whatever way they see fit. We are also creating a mobile version and a mobile app for Map Your Bristol.

4. Exploring Models of Community Co-production: Through the use of digital tools like the maps and apps and the public events and workshops that bring them to life, Know your Bristol creates spaces in which people can come together to co-produce knowledge about our city. This strand of the project engages with this idea and the challenges and tensions it brings up. See the ‘projects’ tab on the Know Your Bristol blog for more information on the specific projects.

Know your Bristol started in 2012, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Connected Communities programme. Following the successful pilot, Know your Bristol Stories took place in 2013, with additional funding from the AHRC and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Know your Bristol On the Move – the latest strand of the project – commenced in October 2013 and is also funded by the AHRC.

Data sources

Map layers

Map your Bristol provides access to several historic maps that cover the administrative area of the City of Bristol. The majority of the maps have been scanned from original archives held at Bristol Record Office (BRO). Because these are scans taken from the original archives you will see damage to the maps in some places including tears and stains and even some areas where people have tried to repair the map. You will also notice variations in the colour of the maps because they have been digitally stitched together from individual sheets. More of these maps can be seen on Bristol City Council's Know your Place website.

We are also using map tiles courtesy of MapQuest

Vaughan Postcards

Map your Bristol includes a small sample of the Vaughan Postcard collection courtesy of Bristol Record Office (BRO). The digitisation of these postcards - the Vaughan Postcard Project - is also part of the wider Know your Bristol - On the Move project.