GISc (Geographical Information Science) and Maps

Geographic Information Science (GISc) resources at York

GISc is that type of Information Science that is concerned expressly with information that includes descriptions and definitions of place.

The term was introduced in the 1990s. GIS are computer applications that deliver tools based on GISc.

The University supports GISc at York with the following resources.

Support resources

Literature resources

The University Library holdings provide direct access to much of the key literature in GISc and to leading journals. Use YorSearch to check the location of individual items.


Advice, support and teaching is provided by academic departments.

The GIS Community Site in Yorkshare

The GIS Community Site in Yorkshare is intended to provide a means for members of the University who are applying or exploiting Geographic Information Science / Spatial Informatics in their teaching or research - and any who are interested in the possibilities. Access to the IT Services Introduction to Geographic Information Science course materials is included, along with discussion boards and wikis. There are also links to external GI organisations and events.

The community is currently set up for unrestricted self-registration by members of the University from within Yorkshare.

Software resources

The widely used commercial GIS application ArcGIS is installed in all centrally managed IT classrooms and is available for installation on other managed and unmanaged PCs. This application requires Microsoft Windows.

Programming libraries to support GISc methods are available on the central UNIX service and in some PC environments; the University's academic Oracle service includes the Oracle spatial functionality.

Some departments provide access to additional, generally specialised, applications in addition to the central provision.

Data resources

Local resources

The University has purchased licences for a number of digital map resources which are delivered online via a network disk drive. These resources include:

  • Bartholomew digital mapping of Greater London (1:10000)
  • Bartholomew digital mapping of Great Britain (1:200000)
  • Bartholomew digital mapping of Ireland (Eire and Ulster) (1:200000)
  • Bartholomew digital mapping of Europe (1:1000000)
  • Bartholomew digital mapping of the World (1:5000000)
  • Isle of Man digital mapping (various scales: talk to the GIS Advisor first)
  • Digital elevation mapping for continental Africa (3 arc second, approximately 100m cell size)
  • British Postcode locations, as a point dataset

Other data are obtained according to demand and available resources.

Digimap resources

The JISC Digimap service provides access to digital maps and vector mapping data for Great Britain. The service is provided by EDiNA

The University subscribes to:

  • Digimap Ordnance Survey Collection
  • Historic Digimap
  • Geology Digimap

Registration is required to use the service, you will be prompted to register on your first access.

The Digimap resources are accessible via the E-resources Guide or, directly from a web browser.

GO-Geo!, Share-Geo and GeoDoc

In addition to the Digimap resources the EDiNA site provides access to:

Go-Geo!, an online resource discovery tool which allows for the identification and retrieval of records describing the content, quality, condition and other characteristics of geospatial data that exist within UK tertiary education and beyond. The portal supports geospatial searching by interactive map, grid co-ordinates and place name, as well as the more traditional topic or keyword forms of searching.

ShareGeo is the place to find and to share geospatial data. You can search the data held in ShareGeo using keywords or by using a map to define the area you are interested in.

GeoDoc allows you to create geospatial metadata for publication in Go-Geo!.

Research Council resources

Several of the Research Councils maintain data repositories which are accessible to grant holders or to the wider academic community. Key data services open for wider access that are relevant here include:

Archaeology Data Service,, for archaeological and related resources. This service also links to related services, such as those of the Royal Commissions.

British Atmospheric Data Centre,, for meteorological and other atmospheric data, including access to the archive of British weather records.

Economics and Social Sciences Data Service, ESDS,, a service jointly funded by ESRC and JISC. This service includes access to British census data, along with many other demographic and econometric materials. Registration for the Census Data Service includes access to the UK Borders data service, hosted at Edina, which includes demographic and PostCode data. The National Statistics Postcode Directory, available via this service, is downloaded and processed at York to obtain a point dataset of Postcode locations to support a very wide range of demographic studies for Great Britain.

The NERC Data Discovery Service,, is a web portal designed to provide a single point of discovery to data resources created or held by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Registration is not required to use the discovery service, although registration or other authorisation may be required for access to specific resouces identified when using this service.

Map holdings (printed maps)

The JB Morrell Library has complete, current sets of both the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger series and the 1:25,000 Explorer series located in the Gegraphy 'N' section of the Library on Floor 1 of the JB Morrell Library.

In addition the JB Morrell Library also holds various map sets covering a range of geographic, geological and thematic areas. A sample of some of the maps held can be seen in the table below. The map collection, along with individual listings, can be found in four large map cases on the first floor.

PublisherArea coveredScale
Ordnance Survey (OS) County Series, South East section of Yorkshire 1908-1950 1:10,5060
OS County Series, parts of Whitby, New Malton, Driffield, Beverley and Selby. 1890-93 1: 500
OS County Series, parts of the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire, 1890-1938. 1:2,500
Institute of Geological Sciences / Ordnance Survey Geological map of the United Kingdom (North) 1: 625,000
British Geological Survey (BGS) Geological survey of Great Britain (Scotland). 1:50,000
(BGS) Geological survey of Great Britain (England & Wales). 1:63,360 and 1:50,000
Isle of Thanet Geological Association Land utilization survey (various areas local to York) 1:25,000
Ordnance Survey Of Ireland. Monastic Ireland 1:625,000
York Archaeological Society Yorkshire: ancient parishes and chapelries Not known
Telegeography Global communications submarine cable map 2003 1:28,500,000
Telegeography European terrestrial networks map 2002 1:3,700,000
Telegeography Global Internet map 1:28,500,000

If you require help with finding or using maps please get in touch: