Swindon is a medium-sized, provincial town, lying in the county of Wiltshire in the south of England. In its overall structure and pattern of land-use it is comparable with many other English towns of middle size (i.e. 50,000-150,000 persons), and may for this reason be seen as representative of its class. Swindon, however, has a distinctive history. Until the mid-nineteenth century, it was a very small market town with little or no industry. Its evolution was changed dramatically in 1840 by the decision of the Great Western Railway Company to make Swindon the site of a major railway depot. With the steady expansion of the railway works during the latter pail of the century, the 'New Town' of Swindon rapidly eclipsed the older market town and became one of the largest centres of the railway industry in the country. By 1900 the 'Old' and the 'New Town' had fused to forma single borough. In its physical fabric Swindon typified the railway town: a uniform, rectilinear pattern of streets was lined with two-storey brick terrace houses, accessed by back lanes, with little public open space, few leisure facilities, and no major civic buildings. Following a long period of economic stagnation, the town underwent a second phase of growth and transformation after World War 2. In the wake of a town development plan, which promoted new industry and an improved infrastructure, the town became, during the 1970's and 1980's, a major centre for new electronics and financial services developments. This explosive change, as dramatic as the impact of the railway, has given rise to extensive redevelopment of the New Town. In a recent research project, a comprehensive survey was undertaken of the south-western portion of Swindon, a pail that embraces both the Old and New Towns and contains the bulk of the shopping and office development. All non-residential buildings in the area, some 1500 in all, were visited and a record made of their physical characteristics (building form, roof type, no. of storeys, materials of construction, etc.), their functional uses, and their occupiers. The resulting database has been encoded in a computer-based Geographical Information System. Each building is represented as a polygon, or set of polygons, to which data are attached, and appears against a pictorial map background, entered from digital Ordnance Survey maps of the area.