For detailed guidance on finding maps, please consult our guide 'Finding Aids for Maps'.
SOLO is the Bodleian Libraries' online catalogue. You can use it to search for maps as well as books, journals and other materials. There is a dedicated Map Search page. It is also possible to access an online version of the earlier Map Room card catalogue via the Maps Flipbook.
In addition to the card catalogue, graphic indexes are available for most national map series, including our very extensive Ordnance Survey (OS) collection. Please ask for these at the enquiry desk.
For information about ordering and consulting maps, visit our Ordering maps page.
Readers may enquire about maps by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by telephone (01865 277013), or in person at any of the enquiries desks in the Weston Library.
Wherever possible, please specify in your enquiry:
- the geographic area(s) of interest
- the date(s) of publication
- the map's content, i.e. topography, geology, hydrography, transport
- the publisher / creator
Ordnance Survey (OS) maps
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.
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.
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
This is a list of several key online resources for maps and map data. More comprehensive listings can be found in our guide 'Finding Aids for Maps.'
- UK base map data, via EDINA: Digimap, UKBORDERS
- Global base map data: Natural Earth, VMAP-0, SRTM, GTOPO-30, NASA Earth Observatory, USGS Land Cover Institute
- Library and collection websites: US Library of Congress Map Collections, David Rumsey, The Perry-Castañeda Library, British History Online, A Vision of Britain Through Time
- Toponym data: NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS), Gazetteer of British Place Names
- Web-based mapping applications: OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, Google Earth, ArcGIS Online, Bing Maps, Bing Maps API, Old-maps UK
Map rooms in other major libraries in the world: