From (I think this is a press release):

Innovative digital mapping will take the UK back in time as the first phase of the most ambitious exploration of Roman Britain - Time Team's Big Roman Dig - is launched today on the Channel 4 website.

A digital mapping facility on the Big Roman Dig* site is being provided by geographical information systems (GIS) provider ESRI (UK), using data from Great Britain's national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey. It enables viewers to explore TV featured sites, Roman finds and identify the nearest 'dig' activity in which they can participate.

Big Roman Dig, which will be broadcast from 2 to 9 July, will see Channel 4's Time Team explore not just one Roman fort, villa or even city, but undertake projects covering the whole country. One main dig and up to nine other excavations will be featured in the programme, and a whole host of other activities are taking place across the UK. The ultimate goal is to create an entire People's Map to discover the truth about Roman Britain and learn about those who lived in it.

The ESRI Internet-based system contains Ordnance Survey data of the whole country at various levels of detail. An initial map of Great Britain shows where activities are taking place, symbolised by activity type - TV featured site, road show or key Roman site - as well as finds that have been uncovered. Zooming in on an activity of interest brings up more detailed map data, with the option of overlaying aerial photography and Roman mapping of the country's most important visible ancient monuments. Clicking on the activity or feature of interest displays textual data in an adjacent window, enabling users to gain a good understanding of the historic context of each site and its place in the local landscape.

"We are excited to be collaborating with ESRI (UK) and Ordnance Survey on the Big Roman Dig," comments Katie Streten, Editor, Factual New Media, Channel 4. "ESRI's technology will help us to make the Big Roman Dig a personal experience for everyone in the UK and help them to get involved in uncovering an important piece of their heritage. The mapping from Ordnance Survey allows us to interpret and understand the landscape of the past, and see how it has shaped our present."

Roy Laming, marketing director at ESRI (UK), says: "Digital maps have so much to contribute to society, both in helping to preserve our heritage and enabling businesses and public services to be more efficient and sustainable. In modern day life geographic information solutions underpin everything from our insurance premiums to our local amenities. This showcase example of GIS in action demonstrates the vital role geography plays in everyday lives."

James Brayshaw, Ordnance Survey's Director of Sales and Market Development, says: "This interactive website is an innovative use of our digital geographic information. It's also a great way to learn more about Roman Britain. The ability to visualise the different areas being excavated or investigated means we can really get a feel for what life was like at that time. "

More information on the technology behind the system can be found at:

Actually, that link really isn't that useful for our purposes. If you want to know more about the 'Big Roman Dig' itself, the Time Team folks have an interesting website in the works ...