Digital maps may be categorized by increasing complexity:
Google Maps are easy to get hold of, but should not be used for academic work unless there are really no alternatives. They also have restrictions on use meaning content should not be copied - see Google permissions guidelines for Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View. If you need a map of Britain, use Digimap which is Ordnance Survey official mapping. Elsewhere check the websites tab in this guide to see if other sources are available.
The Journal of maps is a peer-reviewed, inter-disciplinary, online journal that aims to provide a forum for researchers to publish maps and spatial diagrams. Mapping is a fundamental tool of geographical enquiry yet there has been a decline in the published form - "the Journal of Maps is an attempt to redress the balance and provide an outlet for publication of maps of all types; an antidote to the malaise in map publication" (Smith, 2005). In this journal the map rather than the text is the main focus, although it is accompanied by explanatory information. It contains an enormous variety of types of maps on a huge variation of themes. Recent examples include:
Smith, M.J. (2005) The Journal of Maps: an electronic journal for the presentation and dissemination of map based data. Journal of Maps, 1, 1-6.
e-Perimetron is an peer reviewed, international open access journal. It couples issues of history of cartography and maps with the possibilities of digital information and communication technologies. Produced by the International cartographic Association (ICA) Commision on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital.
Livingmaps Review is an open access journal that promotes critical cartography as a form of citizen social science, blurring the distinction between professional and amateur mapmakers. It supports and reports on initiatives in participative and community mapping. It welcomes collaboration between artists, academics and activists.
Digimap is a key resource allowing you to view, annotate and print maps of Great Britain.
All the maps (except Lidar Digimap) may be accessed and printed out at a variety of scales. Alternatively, geospatial data can be downloaded for use in a geographical information system (GIS).
Digimap is available online from any PC, but an Institutional login is required plus an initial registration to use the service. For more information and to access this resource see our Digimap page.
Digimap can be used at every stage in your academic career. At its simplest, a map can be added from Roam to illustrate an essay. However it can also be used when planning fieldwork and collecting data. It can then be used in conjunction with GIS to analyse your data.
The video below shows you how to do this.
This video is on the Digimap YouTube channel; there are many more videos here, including QGIS (and ArcGIS) and Digimap data; OS MasterMap and building heights; Lidar Diginap; and Saving maps and annotations