Making maps

The Map Room provides guidance, advice and help in digital mapmaking using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Beyond making maps, GIS is used for storing, processing, analysing, and visualising many types of spatial data, and has applications in numerous fields of research across the social sciences, physical sciences, humanities, and beyond.

Bodleian readers and members of the University of Oxford may enquire about digital mapping and GIS by email:

Access GIS software on your own device

Any current member of the University of Oxford is eligible to use the University’s Esri ArcGIS licence, which includes ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro (desktop software for Windows), and an extensive suite of training materials provided by Esri. Academic visitors may be able to obtain ArcGIS through their home institutions.

QGIS is an open-source GIS software package which is free for anyone, while ArcGIS for Personal Use may also be a viable option for non-commercial purposes. Mac users are advised to either use QGIS, ArcGIS Online, or ArcGIS Pro via Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Access GIS software at the University

ArcGIS Pro is installed on PCs at the Social Science Library and Weston Library. Your department or faculty may also provide GIS facilities – please check locally.


Digimap is a web-based service offering access to maps and geospatial data from several UK national data providers. Mapping and data can be viewed via the online interface, or downloaded for educational purposes and used in GIS software.

Any current member of the University of Oxford is eligible to use the following Digimap services by signing in via Oxford SSO:

  • Ordnance Survey  
  • Historic
  • Geology
  • Marine
  • Environment
  • Aerial
  • LiDAR
  • Global
  • Society