Resources and information

Explore our free resources to help you use OS maps, understand property boundaries and discover historical maps.

Map reading

Delve into our free resources to help you stay on track when you're out and about. They can help if you're studying geography, too.

How to read maps

All about map reading - our #GetOutside website is packed full of guides and top tips to help you navigate around Great Britain. It includes how to use a compass and measure distance on a map.

Watch videos from wildlife TV presenter, Steve Backshall, as he gives some top tips on how to use OS maps.

Finding North - learn about Grid North, Magnetic North and True North.

Map reading for beginners to advanced level (PDF)

Map reading made easy, for younger readers (PDF)

Map legends / keys

Our legends tell you the meaning of each map symbol and abbreviation. The keys include roads, land features and tourist information.

OS Explorer map legend/key (PDF)

OS Landranger map legend/key (PDF)

Plan adventures

OS Maps online lets you plan and share routes instantly.

OS Locate app - use this digital compass alongside your OS map. It relies on GPS so you don't need a phone signal to find your way.

National Grid references

What is the National Grid?

A beginner's guide to grid references

Convert coordinates (eastings, northings, longitude, latitude)

Outline maps

These free outline maps are great for colouring in and pinning to your wall.

Map of the United Kingdom (PDF)

Map of Great Britain (PDF)

Great Britain before 1995-96 (PDF)

Map of Europe (PDF)

Education resources

We've got free resources for everyone - whether you want to learn geography, teach it or get inspiration for your outdoor adventures.

Children (ages 5-11) including MapZone, our interactive games and quizzes site.


Secondary & students


Land & property information

Find out how to get hold of maps for planning applications and get information about boundaries in Great Britain.

Planning application maps

You can get maps for planning applications from OS Partners and outlets around the country.

Get planning application maps

Property boundaries

Land Registry uses OS data to identify property boundaries. They can help with any boundary disputes.

Boundary information & FAQs

Election maps

Use our maps to find election boundaries, constituencies, district wards, borough wards and more.

Access OS election maps

Map of GB's counties

View our map of Great Britain's counties.

Go to counties map

Historical map resources

Our mapping began back in the 1700s. Learn all about OS history and how to get hold of historical resources.

Historical map archives

Buy a selection of historical maps from us and our partners, or visit special historical map deposit libraries.

Find historical maps

Origins of place names

Place names usually come from from landscape features, the nature of the settlement or the people who live there. Learn about the origins of place names in Scotland and Wales.

History of place names

Map of GB's historical counties

View our map of Great Britain's historical counties and compare them to today's counties.

Go to historical counties map