Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-55 - Help

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This application allows the Roy Military Survey of Scotland (1747-1755) to be searched as a seamless layer.

Main search process

Use the map controls or the gazetteer, National Grid Reference or county / parish search methods to zoom in on your area of interest. The Roy Military Survey maps appear as a seamless layer.

Gazetteer, National Grid Reference, and Counties/Parishes for searching

The Gazetteer at the top of the map search panel allows you to locate your area on the map using modern place names from Nominatim, using OpenStreetMap names, as well as the Definitive Gazetteer for Scotland (PDF, 135KB), developed by Bruce M. Gittings, University of Edinburgh, with funding from the Scottish Government. The OSM Nominatim gazetteer is stronger for larger settlements and street names, as well as for its global coverage, whilst the Definitive Gazetteer for Scotland is particularly strong for smaller rural features in Scotland, such as farms and hamlets, mountains, hills, rivers, streams, and lochs. The two gazetteers are searched collectively using the OSMNames technology. It is also possible to search by British National Grid Reference - 2, 4, 6, or 8 figures (ie. 'SE12', 'NT1234', 'TQ123456', 'SD12345678'). Further down, drop-down boxes allow counties and parishes (based on their names and boundaries in the 1940s) to be searched. In all cases, the map will then position to the place, National Grid Reference, county or parish that has been selected. We gratefully acknowledge OpenStreetMap, and Bruce M. Gittings, University of Edinburgh for allowing us to use these gazetteers, and the Vision of Britain project for allowing us to use these county and parish boundaries.

Background map

There were two separate maps for the Highlands and the Lowlands. By default, the background map shows the Roy Highlands map. Select other radio button options in the list to the left to choose the Roy Lowlands map, or other layers, such as the 1920s mapping of Scotland, Ordnance Survey Opendata, OpenStreetMap mapping, or Bing satellite imagery hybrid or map views as background maps. Double-click on the map or click the zoom slider (upper left) to zoom in on the map. Google map and satellite layers are no longer available as the OpenLayers software we use does not support them, and also because the Google terms and conditions discourage the overlaying of other maps on top of Google layers.


Hold the [Alt] and [Shift] keys down, and drag with your cursor, or pinch with two fingers on a touch screen to rotate the map. Click/tap on the blue arrow to the upper right, or refresh the page to return to the default rotation.

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Screen Prints / capturing a screengrab

Obtaining images of the Roy map or permission to reproduce it

Digital images of the Roy Military Survey maps may be obtained through SCRAN. The Roy Military Survey maps of Scotland are owned by the British Library, and their permission must be sought if you wish to reproduce or publish the maps. Please contact the British Library to do this.

Linking to the viewer

The URL in your web browser address bar changes dynamically as you zoom and pan the map, and when you alter visible map layers and overlays. You may copy or bookmark the URL in your web browser address bar to save the current viewer location and zoom level.


In the lower-right of the map, the location of your mouse position is shown as a British National Grid Reference, as British National Grid Eastings and Northings, and as longitude and latitude, both in decimal and degrees, minutes and seconds forms.

Further information

Further information on the background to the Roy Military Survey, its content, original form, surveying methods and references for further reading. A paper (PDF - 0.5 Mb) describing the Roy Military Survey map of Scotland (1747-1755): mosaicing, geo-referencing, and web delivery is also available from the online journal e-Perimetron, vol.2 (2007).


This application uses OpenLayers and MapTiler and was originally customised for OpenLayers 2 by Klokan Technologies.

We have released the original OpenLayers 2 code behind this viewer on Github for onward use. We hope that other libraries, archives and institutions may benefit from the code in making available their geographical collections.

Please email for further assistance, or to provide general comments/feedback.