Explore the evolution of maps and the key figures behind them through expert articles and curious collection items. See how maps have influenced war, popular culture and movement.


Articles

Closeup of a globe

European globes of the 17–18th centuries

Globes have come a long way over the years. Use the 3D visuals below to explore how European-produced globes were made and used in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Polar locations map (Maps MOD GSGS Misc.1524)

The map of the world in the 20th century

The British Library’s map curator Tom Harper details the evolution of the map of the world in the 20th century, from the Navy League map of 1901 to a digital world view a century later.

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Maps and views

What is a fantasy map?

The British Library’s map curator, Tom Harper discusses the existence of fantasy maps created in the 20th century, containing a mixture of real-life and imaginary influences.

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20th century London maps banner - London Mayfair Square (CC.5.a.555.)

20th century London maps

British Library maps curator Tom Harper explores the history of London through its maps, from the beginnings of the London Underground to immigration.

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Satirical maps

Satirical maps of the world

Objective geographical representation isn’t always the intention of maps – they can also provide social, economic or political commentary on a region, as British Library maps curator, Tom Harper discusses.

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Themes

War

Find out how maps have been used as propaganda tools throughout the World Wars and how they’ve plotted some of the most daring of escapes in history.

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Blog posts

New Digital Maps available on Reading Room Terminal

Thursday, May 20, 2021

As the maps reading room is now open again to readers, we’d like to point you in the direction of the digital maps viewer. Before you read on please note that the viewer is only available on-site in the maps...

Maps and the Canals

Friday, April 16, 2021

Although the concept of waterways as a means for transportation has been known for centuries, canals still play a vital role in trade – as highlighted by the recent obstruction of the Suez Canal when a wedged vessel disrupted international...

Maps on the British Library's Online Gallery: update

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The British Library’s ‘Online Gallery’ was first created in 2004, and over the years a number of galleries containing thousands of maps have been added to it, from the earliest Ordnance Survey maps to Tudor mapping. Each map has its...

Crowdsourcing in schools: The Land Utilisation Survey of Britain

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Crowdsourcing has become a popular and efficient way for projects of all kinds to involve wide audiences, and to harness the resources and expertise of the general public - the BL Maps Georeferencer platform is a fine example! Nowadays many...

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