NLS Historic Maps API: Historical Maps of Great Britain for use in mashups

This seamless historic map can be:

The mapping is based on out-of-copyright Ordnance Survey maps, dating from the 1920s to the 1940s.

View our Historic Maps Subscription API for details of other map layers available.

From March 2022, this layer has moved to the MapTiler Cloud API. There is a 'free' tier for all non-commercial subscribers using 100,000 tile requests per month or less, but commercial or higher usage levels are charged for according to the volume of requests.

To use the NLS Historic Maps API, you need to create an account in MapTiler Cloud and select the appropriate plan, based on whether your usage is commercial/non-commercial and the monthly traffic you expect.

View more information on:

How to embed the historic map in your website

How to use the map in Javascript viewers

The historic map can be used as a background map for your own data. You can place markers on top of it, or implement any other functionality with customised Javascript viewers.

Licence and terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence icon

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can also read the full legal code of the licence.

The map is provided as an online service under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can embed the map in your own website, display your own markers or mapping data on top of it, use it for research purposes, or create derivative work from it.

The only condition is that you must display an attribution to the National Library of Scotland, together with a link to our website, whenever our map is used. If you create derivative work, the documentation of your work must contain this attribution.

View MapTiler Cloud Terms and Conditions.

Which map series are used

We have chosen recent out-of-copyright Ordnance Survey map series that we have complete coverage of.

At present the seamless historical map is composed of map sheets from these Ordnance Survey map series:

How the seamless map layers were prepared

We have scanned paper map sheets of out-of-copyright Ordnance Survey maps. All the individual map sheets were cropped to remove their margins and then georeferenced in the British National Grid coordinate system. They were then combined together to create one zoomable seamless map for Scotland, England and Wales. The tiles were prepared using the MapTiler Desktop application.

Please email geo@nls.uk for further assistance, or to provide general comments / feedback.