Frequently Asked Questions

What is map scale?

Consistently the most confusing thing for new users is understanding scale. Fixed scales relate mostly to printed maps as a digital map viewed onscreen will display at different sizes depending on factors such as screen resolution. A 2 hectare map is 141m x 141m ie square root of 2ha. Therefore to print this map at 1:1250 scale, 141m needs to be 141/1250 = 11.3cm. As a quick check follow this guide:

Scale Area Size Printed Size
1:200 <1 ha 36m x 36m 18cm x 18cm
1:500 <1 ha 90m x 90m 18cm x 18cm
1:1250 2 ha 141m x 141m 11.3cm x 11.3cm
1:1250 5 ha 224m x 224m 17.9cm x 17.9cm
1:500 2 ha 141m x 141m 28.2cm x 28.2cm
1:500 5 ha 224m x 224m 44.8cm x 44.8cm
1:2500 2 ha 141m x 141m 5.6cm x 5.6cm
1:2500 5 ha 224m x 224m 8.96cm x 8.96cm
Printing at Scale

When you purchase a map as a jpeg you will need to ensure the map is printed at the correct scale. If you already know the scale you need it is often easier to select the "Word" or "PDF" options that are already at a fixed scale e.g. 1:1250. You must ensure that your page layout size is set to "A4" and not "Letter" or "Legal" etc. For PDF and Word files also ensure that "shrink to fit" or "fit to page" are not selected. Either of these will mean your map will no longer be at the correct size and therefore scale. If in doubt simply measure a map once printed to confirm the size is as above and/or measure against the scale bar.


Where a map needs to be printed at a scale larger than the paper it will be printed on ie 2ha map at 1:500 scale on A4 (28.3cm x 28.3cm), you will need to crop the map to fit. The cropping tool is found under "Format" in MS Word.

Just remember to adjust the sizing first and crop afterwards to keep the scale consistent. You will also need to change any text on the page to reflect the new scale.

Am I licensed to use the map for anything?

You are licensed for a digital download for your own personal use and internal business use. If you intend to sell the map for profit however ie in a book, then you must seek additional licensing.

Why do I have to pay to only view a map?

Ordnance Survey value their maps both in terms of printed and digital maps and also in terms of the information gained from just viewing the map. They therefore charge royalties on both downloads and views. We allow PAYG customers 4 free views before they have to buy a map or clear the searches. Corporate customers get a free view with every map purchased.

How long can I use the map for?

12 months, which is usually much longer than you will need it for. If you do require to use a map after this then just get in touch on

How up to date are the maps?

The Ordnance Survey updates maps on an ongoing basis . Areas of greatest change such as towns and cities tend to be updated more frequently. The vast majority of areas will be no more than 3 years old. Contact us if you are concerned an area has not been updated for longer than this and we will inform Ordnance Survey to add it to their update program as a priority.

What file format can I save the map in?

If you want a fixed scale map then we recommend selecting the 'Word' option, which is a jpeg embedded in a word document at the chosen scale i.e. 1:1250. It also has a North arrow and a scale bar and the centre coordinates. Jpegs and PNGs allow you to size at any scale or make the map fit the page using the scale bar to show the actual scale. If you use Autocad or a similar package and wish to be able to alter the map in part or whole then select either a DWG or DXF vector map.

Can I be invoiced on account?

On registering with us as a Corporate (CORP) account, we can invoice you on monthly basis. You decide the credit limit you require and once the first month has been authorised we will invoice you thereafter at the end of each month. Remember to add references for each search and you can cross-check these against your invoice.

Why I am not able to login in the system or download my map from the link?

If you were unable to login to the system or the service displays a message that "Due to prolonged inactivity the system has logged you out" then read this. We use cookies to process your map, so if the cookies are not enabled the you will not able to log in.

To enable the cookies, if you are using the MS Internet Explorer, you can enable them by going to the TOOL menu then Internet Option --> Privacy --> Advanced --> Override automatic cookie handling then accept the first-party and third-party cookies and check the Always Allow Session Cookies. Finally click OK to save the settings and click on Apply to make these changes. For non Internet Explorer users the process will be similar.

Why when I click on the download link do I get a blank screen?

If this happens on either the emailed link or within your account under "maps purchased" then your computer is preventing access to the servers. You can either add our web address to your list of allowable sites or click on the link with the right-hand mouse button and select "save target as".

My map has no road name on it, why?

When Ordnance Survey make maps they repeat road names every few hundred metres. Of course sometimes this means your map may not have a road name showing. Your simplest options in this case are to either select a larger map or re-center the current one a little to include a road name or alternatively use the "Add text" tool onscreen or add the road name in MS Word when you receive the map.

My office uses maps all the time. Can we copy a Streetwise map?

You can either buy multiple copy licences when you buy your map if you only use a few maps per year or if you use more than say 10 maps per year you may want to consider an Ordnance Survey PMCL (Paper Map Copy Licence).

Can I measure distances on the maps?

The online tool allows distance measuring onscreen. Just select the chosen tool and click on the map to measure between each point.

You can also use the scale bar to measure.

Can I measure area?

The online area tool allows a polygon to be drawn and the area it forms to be shown in m2.

Can I add text to the map?

The "Add Text" box allows text in various colours to be typed and added to any clicked point on the map.

Can I automatically highlight a boundary.

By selecting the "Instant Polygon" any area clicked on can be highlighted automatically. This is especially useful for planning applications.

NB: Ensure the polygon is in the colour requested by the local authority.

How large can I print the maps?

The maps are optimised to fit on an A4 page with other information around it. If you want to print bigger than this and need help get in touch at

How do I search on street address?

Either use the partial address on the Royal Mail Postcode finder or use a free mapping website to find the centre point coordinates such as

What to do if the FAQs were not helpful?

Try the help button on the map view page.

Finally if this still has not helped then contact

Register to buy a map