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Cartopics > Finding maps for free

I need a page-sized map of the UK that I can print from my computer. Where can I find one?

  • Map outlines of Great Britain, including coastline, administrative and county boundaries can be downloaded, with copyright restrictions, from the Ordnance Survey’s website
  • Larger-scale mapping (up to 1:25,000) of both Great Britain and Northern Ireland is available, with copyright restrictions, from the Ordnance Survey’s website
  • The British Cartographic Society has links from its web pages to online mapping

I need a page-size map of another part of the world that I can print from my computer. Where can I find one?

There are several websites (based in America) which allow you to download and use maps of various parts of the world with few if, any, copyright restrictions provided the map is for personal or educational use. These are mostly small-scale maps (i.e. showing relatively large areas of the world). Note that not all maps on these sites are free of copyright, especially those that link to external websites.

I need a map. Where can I get one made? How much will it cost?

  • The best bet is to consult the list of Corporate Members of the British Cartographic Society which represents a wide range of map-making organisations in the UK. Most cartographic companies will be able to help you themselves or direct you to a specialist supplier. Please note that these links are only provided as a service to our members as well as to the general public. Please view our website terms of use
  • The cost of the map depends on a number of factors: its size (larger generally means more expensive), its complexity, the area shown (map information about some parts of the world is harder to acquire than others), the age of the map (more recent maps are generally more valuable) and what the purpose of the map is. It will also depend on how many copies of the map you plan to print or distribute. Maps for display on a website will vary in charge according to the nature of the website as well as the map. Because almost all maps are copyright, you will usually pay more for the right to print or distribute more.

Giles Darkes
January 2008

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