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Digimap: What is Digimap?

An introduction to online maps and map data via EDINA's Digimap database

What is Digimap?

Digimap is an online collection of map and map data services provided by EDINA. The maps are primarily for the UK, but the Global tool in Digimap collates some free and licenced maps and data for the whole world. You can do three main things with Digimap:

  1. View, annotate, save and print maps via 'Roam' tools
  2. Download map data (for manipulation with CAD or GIS software)
  3. Web Map Service - stream map data/layers direct to GIS software or to other Digimap collections e.g. as overlays

If you prefer to print out and/or read through a step-by-step guide in PDF format, EDINA provide an official Roam user guide PDF

Access and registration

Access is easiest using the proxy links provided by the Library, to help you get authenticated as members of our institution for our subscription. Alternatively, use the Log In button on the Digimap homepage then select your institution to prompt the right option for Single Sign on authentication.

The first time you use a Digimap collection you must register for access to it. You can register for more than one at once (e.g. Historic, Environment, etc). Complete the short web form with your details (tip: use your UoB email address). Submit the form and check your inbox (and Junk folder!) for a verification email from EDINA. Follow the link to complete the process, read and accept the licence terms. 

Searching maps

When you open Roam, your view starts zoomed out at very small scale, encompassing the UK. There are several options to search and navigate to the area, scale and type of basemap you want.

Keyword search

You can use the search box in the top left of the interface to search by place name, road name or landmark; coordinates or postcode. Select from the results list to centre the map on that location. You do not have to search, as you can use your mouse to navigate the map.

Navigating maps

Changing scale (zooming in/out)

You can manually zoom in/out using the vertical blue bar on the right side of the map interface by clicking the + or -  or click and dragging the blue bar on that scale. Alternatively, you can double-click to zoom in. Your mouse may have a scroll wheel on the top which can be used to zoom in/out.

At the top of the blue scale bar is a button that can be used to click and drag a box on the map, to define the area to zoom in. At the bottom of that bar is another box to zoom back out to the furthest extent.

Navigating and interpreting

You can click and drag the map in Roam using your mouse to move the view on the map. When looking close up at the larger scales, it can help to use the Overview map (the top option in the left hand menu) to give a sense of where you are in the UK at a smaller scale. The second option on the left hand menu, Map content provides a key in Raster maps. In Vector maps it allows you to select/deselect map elements. The bottom option in the left hand menu - Map information - gives you all the details: map product name, scale, date, grid reference, coordinates and more.  

Viewing maps

Maps are viewable at different fixed scales via each collections 'Roam' tool. These have names e.g. Regional, Local, Street, Detailed views. This information is visible in the bottom right corner of maps in Roam.

A note about scale. This might be obvious to many but if you're new to using maps it helps to have a reminder:

  • Large scale = lots of detail, small number scale ratio i.e. close-up view  e.g. 1:1250 (1 map unit represents 1,250 units on the ground)
  • Mid-scale = moderate detail and number on the scale ratio, e.g. 1:50,000 (1 map unit represents 50,000 units on the ground)
  • Small scale = low amount of detail and higher number ratio i.e. zoomed-out view e.g. 1:250,000 (1 map unit represents 250,000 units on the ground)

When printing, the output scale may be different to avoid grainy/pixelated output e.g. 1:25,000 prints at 1:10,000

Use the left-hand menu in Roam to select Map Information to display the ‘Current map product’, coordinates viewed & the scale it prints at.

Customising map content

Customising a map

There are two main types of background map  - Vector or Raster data

  • Raster maps have been scanned in as flat images with no layers to manipulate
  • Vector maps can identify points, lines, etc. which can be selected/de-selected to customise the map content via the Map content control option in the left hand menu

Top tip:

You can switch between different map products available at each scale using the Basemaps button at the top left of the map in Roam. At the largest scale you can select to view 'line drawing' to see individual building outlines in that format.