The National Library of Scotland holds over two million cartographic items, making it the largest collection of maps in Scotland and one of the largest in the world. There are several separate collections of maps within the library’s holdings, namely the Bartholomew Archive and the Graham Brown Collection. At the library there are maps relating to many different kinds of landscapes, such as estates, counties, railways, maps which show the trenches of World War I, and alpine areas.
The collections include:
Over 1.5 million sheet maps
100,000 maps on microfilm
Over 200,000 digital maps
Gazetteers, cartographic reference books and periodicals
Ordnance Survey Maps
Maps published by Ordnance Survey and related bodies, including the War Office (ca. 1840s-1960s). The maps are ordered by country, from largest scales (most detailed maps) to smaller scales (less detailed maps), followed by indexes and characteristics sheets (symbols and legends) for Scotland, England, Wales and Great Britain Belgium / France and Hong Kong.
The Bartholomew Archive is a notable map collection that was gifted to the Library in 1995 by the Bartholomew family in memory of Scottish cartographer John Bartholomew (1890 – 1962). The archive provides information about the Edinburgh-based firm of map engravers, printers, and publishers, John Bartholomew and Son Ltd. It is one of the most extensive cartographic archives available for research in a public institution.
Board of Ordnance Collection
The Library holds roughly 375 military maps and plans that were prepared by the Board of Ordnance in the 18th century for government troops during the Jacobite period. Within the collection are maps of routes, fortifications, and Highland towns. The items in the collections were donated to the library in the 1930s by a government department descended from the Board.
The Stevenson Collection is a holding of 19th and 20th century manuscript and printed maps, drawings, and building plans from the Stevenson family, a Scottish engineering family who specialised in building lighthouses, harbours, and other civil engineering works. The collection mostly covers their work in the United Kingdom, although there are some works concerning Japan and New Zealand, as well as several other countries.