About our map images
In our 'Map images' resource you can access and view over 48,000 maps as high-resolution, colour, zoomable images. The maps date between 1560 and 1961 and relate primarily to Scotland. We also have a small selection of maps beyond Scotland, including maps of England, Ireland, Great Britain and Belgium.
Find by Place
The easiest way of finding material relating to any particular location is to find by place. Search using a map of Scotland, by place name, or by county and parish name. The boundaries and extents of all the map images are shown as clear coloured overlays that you can select and view.
Browse by category
The easiest way of finding general groups of maps is to browse by category. The maps vary in the amount of detail they show:
- Least detailed maps – early maps of the whole of Scotland
- More detailed – county/regional maps and coastal charts
- Very detailed – town plans.
You can also browse the maps by the names of map-makers, surveyors and engravers.
Sets of county maps
We have several atlases online with sets of county maps:
- Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654
- Herman Moll's Maps of Scotland, 1745
- John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland, 1832
- Bartholomew Survey Atlas of Scotland, 1912.
Another category is of maps made for military purposes, especially those from the 18th century. These include the famous Roy Military Survey of Scotland (1747-1755), and Roy Military Antiquities of Scotland (1793). From the 19th century onwards, maps were often published as a set or series, especially by Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance Survey maps
We have a comprehensive set of all the detailed Ordnance Survey maps covering Scotland available. This includes mapping at the following main scales:
- One Inch to the Mile - useful for an overview of wide areas
- Six Inch to the Mile - useful for rural detail, showing heights and contour lines, and covering all of Scotland
- 25 Inch to the Mile - the most detailed maps for all the inhabited urban and rural regions of Scotland
- 50 and 120 Inch to the Mile - very detailed urban plans covering 62 towns in Scotland
Ordnance Survey mapping published in the last 50 years is in copyright and cannot be scanned and made available online. However, you can view which detailed Ordnance Survey maps were published from 1944-1991 through our Ordnance Survey National Grid records viewer.
More about early maps
We have further information about early maps in our introduction to Maps of Scotland 1560-1961. You can also read more about each sub-category: see the early maps list. Together these information pages form a brief, descriptive history of cartography in Scotland.
Seamless and geo-referenced maps
We are geo-referencing a growing proportion of more recent maps. Geo-referencing aligns an historic map image with its real world location information. This lets us present a map series as a seamless layer, and compare the historic maps to other dates of mapping, including modern satellite imagery and maps. Explore our geo-referenced maps.
We have several project websites with dedicated historical map resources:
- Our Georeferencer application allows you to collaboratively georeference our early maps online
- Our Historical Maps API allows you to embed a zoomable georeferenced historic map of Great Britain in your own website
- Visualising Urban Geographies combines historic maps, guides and tools for historians
- Our Bartholomew Archive website presents maps and other information relating to the Bartholomew map-makers and printers
- Our Wilbourn Associates partnership is scanning and georeferencing historical maps of Great Britain
Images and printouts
You can order images, photocopies and printouts of all of these maps. When viewing any map as a zoomable image, select the 'Order this map' button. For further details, including contact information, use the enquires and copies link on all map image pages. The page also has a list of frequently asked questions about our online maps.