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Maps Reading Room

National Library of Scotland

Some 2 million printed sheets, 4,100 manuscript maps, 15,000 atlases and over 100,000 OS microfilm copycards (1978-1999). World coverage of topographic and thematic mapping with particular interest in areas of Scottish association. Maps received through legal deposit under terms of successive Copyright Acts provide comprehensive UK coverage. Modern large-scale digital mapping for the United Kingdom received from 1998 (

Atlases - modern and antiquarian - covering all parts of the world, but with stress on Scottish publishers, mapmakers, printers and compilers.

Gazetteers and cartographic reference books, current and historical, referring to all parts of the world and in major European languages.

Cartographic journals (inc. cartography, map librarianship, and some surveying/ remote sensing).

Special collections ( ) include the NEWMAN COLLECTION (circa 1157 maps, atlases, road-books and itineraries relating to the development of roads in the UK and parts of Europe); the GRAHAM BROWN COLLECTION (mostly 19th and 20th century maps relating to alpine areas and mountain topography); the MARISCHAL COLLECTION (137 maps of Scotland, 1573-1873); and the BARTHOLOMEW ARCHIVE ( file copies of all maps published and printed by John Bartholomew and Co., and John Bartholomew and Son, Ltd., from 1877 onwards).

During past 15 years major efforts have been made to provide access to the collection through digitisation projects. Over 150,000 images are now available to view on the digital maps website.

The Scottish Maps Forum was established by the National Library in January 2002 to develop the interest in early maps of Scotland generated by Project Pont. The forum is led by an invited steering committee of researchers, map users and representatives of institutions with map collections. ( ). The Scottish Maps Forum publishes the newsletter Cairt twice a year ( )

Book an appointment for the Map Reading Room online at



159 Causewayside, Edinburgh, EH9 1PH

Main contact

Telephone number


E-mail address
Opening hours

Maps Reading Room open 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Thursday BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Closed January 1st and 2nd, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day holidays. Book an appointment online


Anyone wishing to consult map collection is welcome to do so, however, they will need to register with the National Library of Scotland. A registration form can be completed online in advance of your visit, or on arrival.
Closed access maps are retrieved up to 30 minutes before closing time.


Copies of maps can be supplied as digital images, colour prints or photocopies, subject to copyright regulations and the physical condition of the maps. Map copies can be ordered through the digital maps website, in person, by letter or by e-mailing Payment in advance is usually required.


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