About the BGS maps portal — maps and sections 1832 to 2014

BGS maps portal — scope

The portal provides access to over 7 000 high resolution viewing images of almost all small and medium scale maps produced by the British Geological Survey since mapping started in 1832 right up to recently released maps in 2014. It incorporates all the earlier maps and history pages that were previously made available through the BGS 'Historical maps of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland' web resource. Viewing the maps online is completely free and a range of paper products is available for purchase. Digital copies are available for a licence fee. It includes:

  • 1:63 360/1:50 000 geological maps of England and Wales and Scotland and the associated historical horizontal and vertical sections
  • 1:63 360 geological maps of the whole of Ireland when it was part of BGS's predecessor, the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland (up to 1905)
  • A range of geological and thematic maps covering the whole of Great Britain and its offshore areas including the 1:250,000 UTM series and the associated geophysical maps
  • A wide range of non-series maps, geological, tectonic and UK wide offshore maps

The portal excludes the larger scale mapping of BGS, the 1:10 560/1:10 000 geological maps and field slips and also the detailed Applied Geology Mapping thematic sets.

For further information on these maps, please contact enquiries@bgs.ac.uk or visit the BGS Online Bookshop

For a small number of maps no scan exists, however, for completeness we provide the map details but without a link to an image.

How to use the BGS maps portal

Maps by Region, maps by subject

Map series can be located in two ways:

  • Maps by region — lists maps geographically by country; either Great Britain for series that cover the whole of the area (including offshore), or by individual country.
  • Maps by subject — a subject approach is provided to finding a map series. Map series are listed by broad subject heading e.g. Geological maps, Geological sections, Geophysical maps etc. Under each subject heading is a list of map series.

Quick links

For users who just want to consult the latest published editions of the 1:63 360/1:50 000 maps, 'Quick links' have been provided on the portal home page. These show the latest map available for a given sheet number and type of map (e.g. Solid, Drift, Bedrock, Superficial, etc.). The main listings for these series under England and Scotland contain information on all editions, the most recent and superseded earlier published editions.

Map listing pages

After selecting a particular map series you are taken to a listing page where the maps can be browsed by sheet number or via a simple search facility. A link to a graphic index map showing the sheet outlines can be found in the 'See also' navigator on the top right if an index map is available.

Full details pages

The information on the 'listing pages' is brief, to see the full details for a map click the full entry link. This gives the full information for the map and several links:

  • View the map — this link opens the high resolution scanned image for free viewing in a separate browser window. You can zoom in and pan around the image.
  • Buy direct from BGS Bookshop — many of the latest published maps can be bought as paper maps directly from the BGS bookshop. If the map is not in stock a 'Print on demand' paper copy can be provided from the scan. Digital copies of the maps are also available for sale in jpeg2000, TIFF or PDF format.
  • Request a map copy — this provides an online form on which you can enter your requirements, which then emails BGS Sales. BGS still hold paper stocks of many of its maps, however for the older and out of print maps BGS can produce a print from the high resolution digital scan. You can also request a digital copy (in jp2, tiff or pdf) based on certain terms and conditions.

Note on the use of [square brackets] in the map data

The information about a map is normally a transcription from the map itself. Sometimes key information such as the title may not be actually printed on the map. Where this is the case the information is supplied in square brackets, e.g. [Kirk Maiden]. Information in square brackets means the information is supplied by the cataloguer and is not transcribed from the item.

Hutton field: well correlation diagram.
Small scale (non-series) maps
Small scale (non-series) maps