Modern maps are treated as artistic works and, as a general rule copyright resides with the creator of a work and lasts for 70 years after their death. For older maps it can be more complex.

In the case of Ordnance Survey maps, Crown copyright applies for only 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published. On 1 April 2015 the Ordnance Survey become a Government owned limited company. Updates to mapping, or new mapping data after this date are no longer covered by Crown copyright. Copyright will last for 70 years after the death of all creators as per other maps.

The University subscribes to Digimap, and under this service users may copy Ordnance Survey maps, subject to licence conditions. Outside of this an A4-sized extract from an OS map may be copied within 'fair dealing' exceptions. For other maps, the copyright rules for artistic works will apply. 

Digimap, Geology Digimap and Historic Digimap

The University subscribes to Digimap and the Geology and Historic Digimap collections

  • Digimap delivers Ordnance Survey Map Data which allows users to view, print and download maps of any location in Great Britain.
  • Geology Digimap provides material from the British Geological Survey
  • Historic Digimap provides access to digital scans of historic Ordnance Survey map data. It includes all available County Series maps published between 1843 and 1939 and National Grid maps published from 1945 and before the introduction of the Ordance Survey's digital Land-line product in the 1990s.

Check the Digimap Licence FAQs and the terms and conditions (available on registration with Digimap) for specific information on what you are permitted to copy.


OpenStreetMap is a collaborative mapping project to map the world and can be used under an open licence (Open Data Commons Database License ODbl).

See OpenStreetMap's copyright page for details of what you are permitted to do.  

Google Maps

You may be able to use Google Maps for limited non-commercial  purposes.

  For further information about what uses are allowed and how to attribute appropriately see Google's guidelines for using Google Maps, Google Earth and Streetview.

School of Geography map collection

The School of Geography map collection is a major cartographic holding within the University, comprising of around 80,000 maps. It includes historical and geological Ordnance Survey maps, with particularly detailed coverage of Nottingham and the East Midlands, First and Second World War military maps, and post-war Europe and world maps that reflect decolonization, political reorganization, and emergent globalization.

Usage of all the maps in the School of Geography map collection adheres to the copyright rules as detailed on this page. For further information please email




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