Help videos

Introduction   |   Map Finder   |   Georeferenced Maps

An introduction to the Map Images website

This video provides an overview of the Map Images website. It covers the main ways of searching - Map Finder, Browse by Category, and Browse by Mapmaker, and how to view maps and order copies. It also looks briefly at georeferenced maps, our projects, recent additions and site map pages.


On our 'Map images' website you can access and view over a quarter of a million maps as high-resolution, colour, zoomable images. The maps date between 1560 and 1970 and relate primarily to Scotland. We also have maps of areas beyond Scotland, including maps of England, Wales and the remainder of Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Jamaica, and India.

The easiest way to find material relating to a particular location is to use the Map Finder - Marker Pin or Outline. You can search by zooming in and moving about the map, or you can search by typing in the name of a place. Maps which cover this area will appear in the results panel on the right, and you can select and view any of the individual maps. In the Outline search, the outlines of all of the available map images are shown overlaid on the background map. Watch our related Map Finder help video for more information.

To find general groups of maps, you can browse by map category. Categories include maps of the whole of Scotland, county or regional maps, and town plans.

From the 19th century onwards, maps were often published as a set or series, especially by the Ordnance Survey, and this category is the largest on our website. 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), Board of Ordnance fortification plans, and the William Roy Military Antiquities of Scotland (1793).

You can also browse the maps by the names of map-makers, surveyors, engravers and mapping institutions such as Bartholomew and Ordnance Survey.

You can order images, photocopies and printouts of all of the maps on our website. When viewing any individual map, select the red 'Order this map' button in the upper right-hand corner. For further details, including contact information, use the enquires and copies link on all map image pages. This page also has a list of frequently asked questions about our online maps.

Another way to view and find maps is through our georeferenced map viewer. We are geo-referencing a growing proportion of our more recent maps. Geo-referencing aligns a historic map image with its real world location. This lets us present a map series as one continous, seamless map. This also allows you to compare the historic maps to modern satellite imagery. Watch our related Georeferenced Maps help video for more information.

Our Recent Additions page shows the latest new map categories we have added to the website.

Our Projects page includes a number of related map applications. For example, our Land Use viewer lets you compare the 1930s landscape of Scotland with the present day.

Our Historic Maps API allows you to use our map layers in other websites.

Finally we have a comprehensive site map page listing the main search methods, contents of the website, and related general and help pages.

We are always happy to be contacted with queries by e-mail, telephone, by post or in person.