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Great Britain

Since 1998 Ordnance Survey of Great Britain (OS) has voluntarily deposited an annual snapshot of its large scale map data (scales of 1:1,250, 1:2,500 and 1:10,000) in the six Legal Deposit Libraries (British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian Library Oxford, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin).

From 1998 to 2005 we received the map data in the OS Land-Line® data format which is structured around 'tiles' (squares of varying extent, similar to conventional map sheets). Since 2006, however, we have received it in OS MasterMap® (OSMM) data format which is based on features (buildings, roads, railways, etc.). These features have date information recorded for them allowing a more specific record of landscape change and they can also be coloured to create a more intuitive and clearer map.  The OS Terrain 5® dataset provides contour lines and height information from the 2014 snapshot onwards (contours at 5m intervals), with contour and height information for earlier years provided by LandForm PROFILE (contours every 50m). The Address and Imagery layers of OSMM are not deposited

Northern Ireland

Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) also voluntarily deposits snapshots of its large scale data. The first year deposited is 2004.



From a dedicated PC in the Map Room it is possible to view these detailed maps on screen and to take a limited number of printouts for non-commercial private research purposes.

It is possible to search for an area in three ways: by zoomable map, or place name gazetteer or by grid reference.

It is also possible to compare two maps of different dates side by side, to zoom and pan, to turn contours and grid lines on or off and to measure distances.

Colour printouts are of A4 size (on A3 paper) and cost £1 each. They can be centred on any location with portrait or landscape orientation and you can add your own title. The prints must be for private or non-commercial purposes.

Although contours can be viewed at any scale they can only be printed at 1:10,000.



Further information can be found on the following web pages:

Cambridge University Library Readers' Newsletter (April 2008). See the last five paragraphs of this article on the newly refurbished Map Room.

National Library of Scotland Map Library:

thinkWhere (developers of the Map viewer used from January 2014):

Dotted Eyes (the developers of the Map Viewer used up to the end of 2013):



Cambridge University students or staff who require maps of a large area or who wish to use map data in some other software (e.g. a Geographical Information System, GIS) might find that Digimap is more appropriate. Digimap includes the data for the current year only, plus some more historical maps (mostly County Series OS maps) and does not include maps of Northern Ireland. Use of Digimap is free to staff and students of the University but users must register.



Opening hours


9:00-12:45 and 14:00-17:10 *


9:00-12:45 and 14:00-16:50 *


Closed **

* Monday to Friday 12:45-14:00: If you wish to continue working through the lunch period we can transfer items to the Munby Rare Books Reading Room.

** Items ordered before 12.45 on Friday can be consulted in the Manuscripts Reading Room. No fetching or transferring is possible on Saturdays. Please contact the Map Room to discuss your requirements.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042