Large Scale Maps
The Tool of Many Trades

Property and land are at the forefront of the news in the United Kingdom. House prices are almost a national obsession, and we seem collectively to gasp as the average asking price reaches yet another record high. And land is at the centre of the country's agenda, too, with ambitious house-building programmes being announced and various adjustments being made to the laws relating to planning. Finance and investment experts are interpreting these factors as pointing to one thing: land values will rise dramatically during the course of the next few years. Against this backdrop, the work of those involved in the property and land sectors has never been more important. Maps are, of course, vital tools of many of these trades, and none more so than large scale maps which are critical to the daily work of professionals from estate agents to town planners to civil engineers. In this short piece, we look at the form and function of these maps and their importance to various jobs.

What Are Larger Scale Maps?

Maps are, in general terms, categorised as being one of the following: small scale, medium scale or large scale. A classic example of small scale would be a world map or a map of a continent such as North America or Africa. Essentially, they display large areas of land on a small space and include very little detail - perhaps borders, mountain ranges, major rivers and lakes and capital cities. Medium is commonly the scale for maps of countries and will typically show major towns and geographical features like rivers and lakes. Larger scale maps show smaller areas - such as, for example, counties, towns or villages - in significantly greater detail than their small scale counterparts. The scale is represented as a ratio, so a large scale county map might be expressed as being on a scale of 1:10,000 while a small scale map of Europe might be expressed as being on a scale of 1:100,000,000.

There is no internationally recognised standard for each (ground) scale, but the following are identified by experts in cartography as being their respective typical ranges:

Large scale 1:0 - 1:600,000
Medium scale 1:600,000 - 1:2,000,000
Small scale 1:2,000,000 - 1:∞


What Are They Used For?

There are many practical uses for larger scale maps. We all use them, of course, in the ordinary course of our daily life. We might, for instance, use one if we were planning a walking tour of a town or our car journey to the nearest city. Using ramblers as an example, they may want to plan a long country walk and note in advance any fences, turnstiles and challenging terrain. Likewise, we increasingly use them in electronic format to locate an exact site, such as a school, house or business - perhaps if we are thinking of buying a house and want to know its environs before we decide to view it.

These types of map are also hugely important for certain professions, such as civil engineering, architecture, town planning, surveying and land or estate agency, which depend on accurate and detailed maps for their everyday work. Commercial enterprises such as building firms, property developers and asset managers also make extensive use of the maps.

Detailed maps are absolutely key to the work of public sector bodies such as housing associations and councils, who need access to detailed street level maps of their jurisdiction and assets for everything from planning infrastructure and investment to making planning decisions.

As an example, the Environment Agency will employ these maps on a virtually hourly basis during severe weather events to locate those places which are especially prone to flooding and to plan a rapid response if these areas are affected. Similarly, those tasked with developing a local policing strategy will use the maps to identify crime "hot spots" and deploy resources accordingly.

For more information on what large scale maps are used for see


Large Scale Maps Online

Technology has revolutionised the ways in which larger scale maps can be used. It's now possible to use them for highly sophisticated purposes. Imagine, for instance, a major retail chain trying to decide where best to locate a new branch of their business. Using advanced mapping software, they can find several possible sites for the new store and then overlay each of them with nearby residential areas to assess the most populous and therefore the most profitable catchment area. Equally, property developers wishing to build a new housing complex can overlay potential sites with school catchment areas, shopping centres or local places with a high risk of flooding to determine which location would provide the optimal conditions for their project.

The advantages for busy professionals of having access to this technology are obvious, but perhaps the most important benefit is the speed and accuracy with which mapping information can be retrieved and used to inform the often critical decisions that personnel in this field face on a daily basis.

The History of Great Britain

The digital archive available to Promap’s customers enables them to delve into the history of Great Britain and provide a unique step by step insight into the way an area has been developed over time, the data set of surveyed land going back to the 1840’s in some cases.


Aerial Photography

Large scale maps when used alongside aerial photography will bring any site to life, really bringing that extra dimension to the traditional OS map. As with our other applications and products, a full suite of tools allow you to overlay data on the site in full colour, giving you the potential to represent all the information you need.


Promap is a service of Landmark Information Group, a Daily Mail and General Trust company, and the UK's leading supplier of digital mapping and solutions for large scale maps, property and environmental risk information. We understand and work closely with partners in the property and environmental sectors to evolve and refine our products to match the changing requirements of clients. We are proud also to work in collaboration with Ordnance Survey Ltd to ensure the absolute accuracy of the systems we deliver: clients can have total peace of mind when using Promap.

Our technology is advanced, but its user interface is simple, intuitive and fast, requiring minimal training before it starts to makes a real difference to your professional or business output. Why not contact us today to discuss your needs?

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