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Introduction   |   Map Finder   |   Georeferenced Maps

Map Finder

This video demonstrates our main viewers for searching and finding all of our online maps. It illustrates the main search process using a Marker Pin or Outlines, how to search using gazetteers of placenames, and by county and parish names. It also covers how to select different map categories, how to change the background map, and how to save URLs to any location and map layer in the viewers.


The Map Finder is our main interface for searching and viewing all of our online maps.

You have two options for searching: by Marker Pin or Outline

When using the Marker Pin search, you drop a pin at a location on a modern map to view maps that cover that area. To find your location of interest, you can use the search box in the upper left of the screen. Or, you can simply zoom in. To drop the pin, click the screen at your desired location. The right-hand panel will then display all of the map images that cover that area. You can zoom in or out to view maps of different scales, meaning maps that cover areas in more or less detail. To zoom, use the plus and minus buttons in the bottom left, or use your mouse wheel. In the search panel on the left, you can filter your results by date, by map type, by keyword, and by scale.

The Outlines search provides more filters and search functions than the Marker Pin search.

You can search for a place using a National Grid reference, or search by county and parish, or search for your current location. This 'Show my location' feature requires your device to share its own location with the website in order to work. We do not store this data.

In the Outlines search, you choose a map category that you would like to search from the left-hand list. You have a top-level choice, such as Ordnance Survey maps, and then a further limiter by specific series. You will see outlines of the maps covering this area. You can change the transparency of these bounding boxes using the slider in the lower left corner of the screen. To view maps, click on your area of interest. Each relevant map will then be highlighted in blue, and will appear as a thumbnail in the results panel on the right. The results will appear in chronological order by the publication date of the maps.

To view any of these individual maps, click on the thumbnail. This will take you to the individual map, where you can zoom in and out, take screengrabs or download PDFs, as well as order copies of the map. To return to the previous viewer, use the green back button.

By default, the background map for both Map Finder search interfaces shows a modern ESRI topographical map. To change to a different background map, select the drop-down list at the top of the page. You can choose from Bing satellite or hybrid layers, 1920s mapping from the NLS Historic Maps API, OpenStreetMap, or Ordnance Survey Opendata as some of your options. 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.

To copy, save, or send a specific view, you can save the URL in your web browser. The URL in your web browser address bar changes as you zoom and move around the map, and when you switch between map categories and background maps, providing a unique URL for your current view.