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Explaining aspects of copyright to be aware of when studying, lecturing or undertaking research. Please note that information on these pages is for guidance only: it does not constitute formal legal advice.

Using maps in academic work

It is common to want to use maps to visually convey geographical information in education and academic work, and you can use a number of resources, some of which are freely available. As usual, it is important that licence terms and copyright law are not breached.

Google Maps

The following is permitted by the licence terms:

  • Reproducing maps in academic work without specific permission for non-commercial educational purposes, subject to Fair Dealing; i.e. you must not use more than is necessary for the purpose, and not very large amounts of data (as usual with Fair Dealing, this is subject to interpretation). You must provide attribution, which can be found at the bottom of the maps (an example is 'Map data (c) 2021 Google' see example from Google Maps below). You can type it yourself if this doesn't happen to be on the part of the map you have reproduced, but it must be close to the map.
  • Applying your own annotations (e.g. points, lines, labels) to copies that you have made. For example, you can't make any changes to the colours of the web interface or remove attribution.
  • Using maps in books to be published, that will have a circulation of less than 5000 copies.
  • Embedding maps in digital media such as websites.

Amongst other things, the following is not permitted:

  • Commercial use
  • Using screenshots of Street View imagery (and some other uses of Street View).

These are the key points from the guidelines for re-use on the Google Maps website. If they do not cover your desired usage, or you are not sure, please read these guidelines, or contact City's Copyright Librarian.

OS map of City, University of London and surrounding area, to show copyright information

Ordnance Survey

City has a subscription to Digimap, which gives access to a variety of mapping data, including Ordnance Survey (OS) maps. This data may only be used by members of City, for educational and research use only (as determined by the user agreement). As with Google Maps above, permitted usage is defined by Digimap Terms and Conditions. Information about usage of OS maps is given below; please note that this may not be the same for other types of mapping data in Digimap; please check this within Digimap or contact City's Copyright Librarian.

OS maps can be used for the following purposes (amongst others):

  • Educational purposes, such as lecturing and academic work (including online).
  • Reproduction of small extracts of maps in theses (although if the thesis is to be published under a Creative Commons licence it will be necessary to contact Digimap to check that this is all right).
  • Reproduction of small extracts of maps in journal articles.
  • Reproduction of small extracts of maps in books to be published - see the Digimap Licence FAQs (number 17).
  • Including maps in conference presentations and public lectures (although you mustn't give any material to attendees).
  • Data from the Ordnance Survey collection may be used for "limited administrative use". This is defined as "fair and reasonable use to show the location and extent of a Place of Education, any of their other fixed assets, and/or the location of, and directions to, an event organised by it."

When you reproduce maps:

  • They must be acknowledged as follows: “© Crown copyright and database rights “year” Ordnance Survey (100025252)”, where “year” is the current year (100025252 is the licence number for the Ordnance Survey Education Services Providers).
  • In general they should not be georeferenced (for further information look at the Digimap Terms and Conditions).

The following (amongst other things), is not permitted:

  • Commercial usage.
  • Retaining downloaded digital material after you have left City (prints of maps and electronic mapping images can be kept but may not be used for any further purpose).
  • Sharing with people who are not considered authorised users; this may not necessarily be limited to City members under certain circumstances, however you should be sure that the sharing you wish to do is permitted; again, see the DigiMap Terms and Conditions.

If any usage that you are considering is not addressed above, please contact City's Copyright Librarian.