This article provides an overview of the historical maps from the NLS (National Library of Scotland) archives, which were digitized and published in MapTiler Cloud. You can access any of the following maps after purchasing a subscription to MapTiler Cloud.
Available Map Layers
Great Britain, Ordnance Survey (1:1 million-1:10,560), 1900s
A set of five different scales of seamless Ordnance Survey map layers from around 1900, which display the different scales at different zoom levels:
- Ordnance Survey, Great Britain, 1.016 Inches to 16 miles / 1:1 million, published 1905.
- Ordnance Survey Quarter-Inch England and Wales / Scotland 1:253,440, publ. ca. 1900-1906.
- Ordnance Survey One-Inch to the Mile England and Wales (Revised New Series) / One-Inch Scotland 2nd edition (Hills), 1:63,360, 1885-1903.
- Ordnance Survey Six-Inch to the Mile England and Wales / Scotland, 1:10,560, 1888-1913.
- This layer is best for applications needing to display base mapping that is legible at a range of different zoom levels from viewing the whole country when zoomed out, to streets, houses, farms, and fields when zoomed in...
Great Britain, Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile (1:10,560), 1888-1913
This is our most detailed seamless layer covering all of Great Britain, and which also appears as the largest-scale layer in the 1. Great Britain, Ordnance Survey 1900s layer above. The layer is made up of the OS County Series mapping at Six-Inch to the mile / 1:10,560 for the 2nd edition, dating between 1888-1913. This series is the most detailed topographic mapping that covers all of Great Britain. (The more detailed OS 25 inch to the mile (or 1:2,500) maps and OS town plans were not published for all areas). The six-inch maps are immensely valuable for local and family history, allowing most features in the landscape to be shown. Further information - England and Wales / Scotland
Great Britain, Ordnance Survey, One-Inch to the mile (1:63,360),
'Hills' edition, 1885-1903
This is a layer at one inch to the mile, covering all of Great Britain, and which also appears as the third layer (out of four) in the 1. Great Britain, Ordnance Survey 1900s layer above. The layer is made up of Ordnance Survey One-Inch to the Mile England and Wales (Revised New Series) and One-Inch Scotland 2nd edition (Hills), 1:63,360, 1885-1903. The one-inch to the mile scale allows a good general overview of the landscape, showing settlement patterns, roads, railways, parkland and woodland, and the general lie of the land. The 'Hills' edition maps were printed with a second copper plate of brown or black hachures to depict relief, rather than the contour lines of the 'Outline' edition.
Great Britain, Ordnance Survey 'Provisional' edition (1:25,000), 1937-1961
The 1:25,000 'Provisional edition' was Ordnance Survey's first civilian map series at this medium scale and the forerunner of the modern Explorer and Outdoor Leisure maps. By 1956 it covered 80% of Great Britain, everywhere apart from the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The series is useful for showing rural and urban areas in much greater detail than the standard OS one-inch to the mile (1:63,360) maps. Within settlements, the general character of buildings - whether terraces, semi-detached, or large detached houses, etc. - is shown, and public buildings are distinguished by their darker shading. Within rural areas, the series is the smallest scale at which field boundaries are shown, and consequently, footpaths, tracks, and bridleways can be easily followed. Different types of woodland (coniferous, deciduous, or mixed woodland) are indicated, and features of archaeological interest, including cairns, earthworks, historic routeways, and standing stones are shown. Roads and railways are depicted with less generalization than at smaller scales, and contour lines of equal height are shown at close intervals of every 25 feet. The series also shows British National Grid kilometer squares, as well as county and parish boundaries.
Great Britain, Ordnance Survey One-Inch Seventh Series (1:63,360), 1955-1961
The Ordnance Survey Seventh Series was the first OS one-inch to the mile (1:63,360) series to cover the whole of Great Britain as a standard set of maps, and the forerunner of the modern Landranger series. It is also the most recent OS series at medium scales (1:63,360/1:50,000) that is out-of-copyright. The OS one-inch scale was intended as a 'touring, cycling and small-scale maneuver map', and in the 20th century was used particularly for a wide range of outdoor and recreational purposes. Printing in six to ten colors allows clear differentiation and display of topographic features: different classes of roads, railways, water, woodland, urban areas, land use, footpaths, and contours at 50-foot intervals. The maps were based on large-scale surveys and a revision for major (selected) change during 1944-1948. It also shows British National Grid kilometer squares, as well as county and parish boundaries.
London, Ordnance Survey Five-foot to the mile (1:1,056), 1893-1896
The most detailed mapping of London by Ordnance Survey, from just over a century ago, covering London in 729 sheets, based on a revision and survey of 1891-5. Due to the importance of the maps for improving urban sanitation, many features relating to water supply, sewerage, drainage, and gas supply are shown, including fire plugs, hydrants, water taps, manholes, stop-cocks, spot-heights, and benchmarks. The maps show the divisions between all buildings, including terraced houses, with glass-roofed buildings depicted with cross-hatching. Many industrial and manufacturing premises with details of their type of industry are clearly depicted, along with wharves, docks, market places, canals, railways, and tramways. The maps also show the ground floor layout of public buildings, including cathedrals, churches, and railway stations. The maps are also an excellent record of urban public boundaries, showing the broader County and Municipal Borough boundaries, as well as the more detailed Municipal Ward and Local Board District boundaries
Ireland, Bartholomew, Quarter-inch to the mile (1:253,440), 1940
This layer provides a colorful and attractive overview of Ireland at the beginning of the Second World War, based on maps published in 1940. Bartholomew's maps were well-known for employing layer-coloring to show relief, using a spectrum of color from green close to sea level, to beiges and browns at higher altitudes. Bartholomew based their map content on more detailed Ordnance Survey mapping at the one-inch to the mile (1:63,360) scale, but they deliberately selected only certain details from the Ordnance Survey maps, and also added their own. They added categories of roads, including drove roads, steamer routes, and rights of way that were not shown on Ordnance Survey maps. These Bartholomew maps also show county and country boundaries prominently in red.
UK Ordnance Survey Historical Maps from 1919-1947
This layer offers a seamless combination of various ordnance maps created between 1919 - 1947, making it one of the newer datasets in the collection. Its bright and contrasty colors give it a very specific look that is easy to remember, plus it makes it quite distinguishable from the other maps.
How to use the historic layers on your website or desktop
The layers can be quickly set up and used in any web browser through a customizable MapTiler Cloud API. By default, subscribers will be given a URL to a viewer page with links to view the layer, source code, and API in various standard web-mapping applications. There are also links with help on how to use the layer inside the ArcGIS, QGIS, and uDig desktop GIS programs. Using these programs, the Subscription API map layers can be easily used as a background map for your own data. You can place markers on top of them, integrate gazetteers or other layers with them, or implement any other functions as necessary.
The National Library of Scotland owns Intellectual Property Rights in these map layer APIs and licenses them for use on third-party websites, or for other business and internal use, only. You can embed the layers on your own website, display your own markers or mapping data on top of them, use them for research purposes, or create derivative works from them.
Wherever you display, embed, or use the map layers you must display an attribution to the National Library of Scotland, together with a link to our website. If you create derivative works, the documentation of your work must also contain an attribution to the Library.
You may not sell the map layers, make them available for onward use on other websites, or provide them to other institutions or third parties. You may only use the subscription for one website domain or one mobile application. Read the Terms and Conditions.
Commercial re-use restrictions
Some of the maps in these series have been digitised for the Library by a third party. This specifically relates to the following API layers and map series:
- Great Britain, Ordnance Survey (1:1 million-1:10,560), 1900s where the Ordnance Survey, One-inch to the mile, 2nd edition (Outline), Scotland, 1885-1900, and the Ordnance Survey, Six-inch to the mile, England and Wales, 1842-1952 are restricted for commercial purposes
- Great Britain, Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile (1:10,560), 1888-1913 where the Ordnance Survey, Six-inch to the mile, England and Wales, 1842-1952 is restricted for commercial purposes
- Great Britain, Ordnance Survey 'Provisional' edition (1:25,000), 1937-1961 is restricted for commercial purposes
- Great Britain, Ordnance Survey One-Inch Seventh Series (1:63,360), 1955-1961 is restricted for commercial purposes
Use of the maps in these layers for commercial purposes is currently restricted by contract. These restrictions cover the re-use of copies and extracts, as well as commercial use directly through the API.
This article lists the available historical maps from the NLS archives (National Library of Scotland) that were digitized and published online. The maps are available for both commercial and research projects worldwide. if you want to learn more about how to work with these maps, go to the following article in the MapTiler Documentation portal.