Finding maps

Map enquiries

The vast majority of the Bodleian's collection - including its maps - is stored off-site in closed stacks. Items are retrieved by request. Most orders are available by the next day for consultation in the Weston Library. Requested maps may be retrieved from the reserve desk in the Mackerras Room on the First Floor. Readers who are travelling in from outside of Oxford are kindly requested to contact us by telephone or email a few days in advance to arrange the retrieval of items from storage.

Readers may enquire about maps by email (maps@bodleian.ox.ac.uk), by telephone (01865 287300), or in person at any of the enquiries desks in the Weston Library.

Wherever possible, enquiries for maps should specify:

  • The geographic area(s) of interest
  • The date(s) of publication
  • The map's content, i.e. topography, geology, hydrography, transport ...
  • The publisher / creator

Catalogues

For comprehensive guidance on finding maps, please consult our LibGuide 'Finding Aids for Maps.' Our physical card catalogue has recently been deployed to SOLO as fully digitised records. We still provide online access to scans of the original cards. The general arrangement is by map scale, but records for maps dated before 1851 and all atlases are arranged chronologically.

In addition to the card catalogue, graphic indexes are available for most national map series, including our very extensive Ordnance Survey collection. Please ask for these at the enquiry desk.

Voluntary deposit of Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping

On an annual basis since 1998, the Ordnance Survey voluntarily deposited their detailed digital maps of Great Britain. From 2004, Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland also annually deposited their detailed digital maps for Northern Ireland.

These annual snapshots are archived by the British Library, and made available to readers in every legal deposit library. These snapshots will continue in the future, supplemented by snapshots of other digital map publications.

Readers can view digital mapping received under non-print legal deposit using our dedicated map viewer in the   Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room in the Weston Library.

LDL map viewer 

The viewer is very easy to use. Once you choose a map dataset for viewing, you can then view the mapping for specific places in two main ways:

  • Using a zoomable map
  • Using a gazetteer of placenames, addresses or postcodes/grid references.

You can pan and zoom to view a map on-screen. The maps have been customised using default styles to look clear, and each has a legend or key, where appropriate, to explain the colours and symbols.

A4 size extracts of maps, on an A3 sheet of paper, are permitted for non-commercial research or private study, or for certain other limited purposes as defined by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Electronic copies are not permitted and printing must be agreed with Library staff.

Accessions and map lists

New items in our continually expanding collection are listed in the monthly accessions lists.

  

The Map Room also periodically publishes a series of map lists --  inventories giving detailed information about important areas of the map collections. Map lists 1 and 2 can be purchased from Bodleian Library Publications. Map lists 3 onwards can be downloaded in .pdf format.

  • Maplist 1: A List of Ordnance Survey District, Special and Tourist Maps 1861-1939 by Nigel James. Price: £3.50 inc. UK postage
  • Maplist 2: A List of Ordnance Survey Catalogues, Publication Reports & other Publications by Nigel James. Price: £3.50 inc. UK postage
  • Maplist 3: A Selected List of Estate and Parish Maps up to 1850 in the Bodleian Library Compiled by Nigel James 2004. Revised 2007. Download PDF
  • Maplist 4: Ordnance Survey County Series Maps in the Bodleian Library. Missing and out-of-sequence maps and other anomalies: England and Wales Compiled by Alex Zambellas 2012. Download PDF
  • Maplist 5: Ordnance Survey County Series Maps in the Bodleian Library. Missing and out-of-sequence maps and other anomalies: Scotland Compiled by Alex Zambellas 2012. Download PDF
  • Maplist 6: Ordnance Survey County Series Maps in the Bodleian Library. Missing and out-of-sequence maps and other anomalies: IRELAND Compiled by Alex Zambellas 2012. Download PDF
  • Ordnance Survey 1:1,250 town plans of England and Wales Compiled by Alex Zambellas 2012. Download PDF

For information on what the OS published in the County Series, and for county-by-county survey and revision dates, see the OS Index Atlas (reprinted by David Archer Maps) and Richard Oliver's OS Maps: A Concise Guide for Historians (The Charles Close Society, London, 2005; ISBN 1-870-59824-5).

Online data resources

Several key online resources for maps and map data. More comprehensive listings can be found in our LibGuide 'Finding Aids for Maps.'

Local support information for Digimap.

Other institutions

Map rooms in other major libraries in the world:

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