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.
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.