We have one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years.

Collection guides

Readers at desks in the Maps Reading Room

Maps Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, ask our Information Specialists at the enquiry desk or contact the Maps Reference Service Team.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue - Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays Closed - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/subjects/news-media#sthash.Wb5AILRq.dpuf

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

George III's maps and views: 32,000 images released on Flickr Commons

Thursday, July 15, 2021

In October 2020 we released 17,000 images of maps and views from George III’s Topographical Collection on the images-sharing site Flickr Commons, which seems to have kept you busy. Well, from today, you can find an additional 32,000 images, comprising...

Adding 1,277 East African maps to Georeferencer

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

I’m delighted that 1,277 maps from our War Office Archive have been added to the Georeferencer in the last few days. These military intelligence maps relate to Eastern Africa, particularly modern-day Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and...

One-Fifth of the World's Surface

Thursday, July 1, 2021

One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface is a digital audio-visual, multimedia web experience by artists Hakeem Adam and Maxwell Mutanda. Commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices and York Mediale, the work is, as the title suggests, an exploration of the ‘power of...

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...

More blog posts

Projects

Georeferencer

Help us make our maps fully searchable and viewable using online geotechnologies.

Off the Map: Videogame & Interactive Fiction Design Competition

A videogame and interactive fiction design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Library experts

Tom Harper

Curator, Antiquarian mapping

Dr Gethin Rees

Lead Curator, Digital Mapping

Case studies

More Case studies
…King George III’s Topographical Collection is a truly amazing collection in the British Library…

Maps, the Italian Grand Tour and the King’s Topographical Collection

…...Discovering a lost 15th-century city...…

Using our maps collection: Diana Newall, art historian

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Charles Close Society

Dedicated to the study of OS mapping

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey for Great Britain

Shop our maps-inspired range

Maps and the 20th century

A global story of the most turbulent century in history through its most powerful and important object: the map.

£20

Cross Stitch Map

A world map printed on cross stitch fabric and mounted on a wooden frame.

£25

Globe Light Orange

See the world, see the light. A bold and elegant globe light.

£85