Help & Support

Here are most of our frequently asked questions. Please check these before contacting us.

Before Purchase

What is the most detailed Ordnance Survey map?

OS MasterMap® is the most detailed professional mapping in the UK. It contains all manmade and natural features of the country in a single continuous map and a database of over 500 million objects. You can read more about it here: OS MasterMap®.

Can I look at Ordnance Survey maps online?

Yes, you can preview OS MasterMap® and other OS maps online through our website. You can also find more OS maps available for preview here.

Where can I get old OS maps?

You can get historical overviews of your site by browsing our range of old OS maps starting from the 19th century. Read more about our historical maps here.

Can I get Ordnance Survey maps of Northern Ireland?

We do not offer OS maps of Northern Ireland through MapServe®, however you can get OS maps of Northern Ireland here.

Where can I find out when OS maps are updated?

OS MasterMap® is updated every 6 weeks. You can find out the exact dates for when MasterMap is updated here.

How do I get an Ordnance Survey map of my property?

MapServe® is an official Ordnance Survey map supplier and can provide you with OS maps of your property in various formats, including PDF and CAD. You can get your Ordnance Survey map here.

What is on an OS map?

It covers all of the country's manmade and natural features in an one continuous map, as well as a database of over 500 million objects. On OS maps, physical and human components are represented by symbols. You can read more about it here: Ordnance Survey maps®.

How do you make an OS CAD plan?

You can easily create a CAD plan using our OS MasterMap® within minutes after registering for a free account and following these instructions.

What are the types of OS maps available?

We offer multiple OS maps including the latest update of OS MasterMap®, OS Overview Map, OS Road Map as well as OS MasterMap® in 3D format. You can read more about it here.

How do I place an order?

Here is a quick demo video.

How do I measure a map?

You can use the "measure" tool that is situated on the toolbar of the website at the top of the page. You can measure an area or line as follows.

  1. Click the Measure tool and then move to the map where you want to start measuring.
  2. Click once and for a line, just double click once you've finished the line and the distance will appear.
  3. For an area, click once to start, once for each corner and double click to finish, and the area will appear.

Here's a help video.

How do I obtain a scaled map?

You can choose your scale by clicking on the ‘’Paper Size’’ button which is situated on the toolbar of the website at the top. If you use CAD software and order the DWG or DXF format maps, you can scale the mapping in your software.

What is the price of the maps?

You can check our price list here: Price List

How do I find a map using eastings/northings?

You can find a location using easting/northing details by clicking on the postcode search box top left and selecting Easting/Northing. You can then enter your details in the box.

How do I find a map using latitude/longitude?

You can find a location using a latitude/longitude by clicking on the postcode search box top left and selecting Latitude/Longitude. You can then enter your details in the box.

How do I find a map using an OS grid reference?

You can find a location using a OS Grid Reference by clicking on the postcode search box top left and selecting OS Grid Ref. You can then enter your details in the box.

How do I save a selected area?

To save selected areas, so you can open them at another time you need to:

  1. Select an area you want to save.
  2. Click on the 'Save / Open Area' link at the bottom of the site (see below) and add a name and reference if you wish.
  3. When you want to open a saved area, click on the 'Save / Open Area' link and click Open next to the relevant area.

Here is a help video.

How do I preview a map?

You can preview a map by clicking on the ‘’preview’’ button that is situated next to the ‘’add to basket’’ button.

What is the accuracy of the MasterMap® maps?

  • Absolute accuracy - how closely the coordinates of a point in the dataset agree with the coordinates of the same point on the ground (in the British National Grid reference system).
  • Relative accuracy - positional consistency of a data point or feature in relation to other local data points or features within the same or another reference dataset.
  • Geometric fidelity - the ‘trueness’ of features to the shapes and alignments of the objects they represent when testing the data according to the dataset specification against the ‘real world’ or reference dataset.

The following table represents the absolute and relative accuracy applicable to the scale at which the product is surveyed.

RMSE (Root mean squared error) is the square root of the mean of the squares of the errors between the observations.

What mapping formats are available?

Our MasterMap® formats are DWG, DXF, PDF, PNG and GML. All other mapping and aerial photographs are in PNG format.

What map scales are available?

Our scale range varies from 1:200 to 1:10000 depending on the map type requested.

What map types are available?

We offer a range of digital maps and geospatial information for professionals, such as architects, surveyors amongst many others. A popular map is called MasterMap®, which is one of the most detailed mapping available and surveyed by the Ordnance Survey. We offer it in CAD formats like DWG and DXF but also PDF and PNG. We also offer a range of optional extra layers such as contours, freehold boundaries, building heights and aerial photography. Read more about our full mapping range here: Map Types

What map scales are needed for a planning application?

The location plan is typically 1:1250 or 1:2500 for larger sites and the site/block plan is typically 1:200 or 1:500. You can check the following link for more info: Guidance for Planning Applications

I can't see a property on the map.

It is possible that your property is not registered, or it is situated out of the borders of the map. Please note that the map is updated every few months so make sure to check regularly. Also, please, make sure you use the correct address or coordinates when looking for your property. Our maps are surveyed by the Ordnance Survey so if you think there is an issue please contact them directly.

I just need a planning map; how do I get one?

If you’re a member of the public, we offer planning maps via our site Buyaplan, which may be your fastest option.

How often is the mapping updated?

MasterMap® and many of the smaller scale maps are updated by the Ordnance Survey every 6 weeks, however it can take longer than that for new objects to be surveyed and added to the mapping. We then immediately update our site. If you feel the mapping is out of date please contact the Ordnance Survey directly.

Do the maps feature a north arrow and scale?

Yes, our plans feature a north arrow and scale.

Which account option is best for me?

If your main priority is saving money and you use mapping in large volumes then going for the ‘MapServe™ Professional’ account may be the best option. The ‘MapServe™ Pay-As-You-Go’ may suit lower volume ad hoc use. See the Price List for a more detailed comparison.

What is a MasterMap®?

OS MasterMap® is the most detailed and accurate digital map of Great Britain, surveyed by the Ordnance Survey. It features every fixed feature of the land, man made or physical, that is larger than a few metres. It is updated continuously and we offer it in CAD and raster formats like PNG and PDF.

What is a reference?

A reference is the name of the map that appears on the invoice. Usually, the address that you choose is automatically added as the reference of the map but you can change this if you want. It is situated on the top left corner of the website.

What optional extra layers are there with MasterMap®?

The optional extra layers we offer are 1m contours, building heights, freehold boundaries, listed buildings and the National Tree Map, see more detail here Map Types. These are CAD format only.

What software do I need to view the maps?

The software you need depends on the format of the map. DWG and DXF files require CAD software (free viewer here Autodesk Viewer). PDF requires an Adobe Acrobat Reader (free viewer here Adobe Reader) and GML files require GIS software or similar.

How long does it take to obtain the mapping?

You can order and download the mapping within minutes, 24 hours a day.

Can I pay by invoice?

Yes you can. In addition to our standard 'Pay as you go' option, we offer a 'Professional' account which gives you further discounted mapping, more free MasterMap® previews and 30 days credit. You can pay via direct debit, on a card or invoice. There is an annual charge for this facility with details shown here Price List.
Interested in a 'Professional' account? Then contact us.

After Purchase

How can I extend the licence of my OS map?

Any digital mapping purchased through MapServe® comes with a one-year licence. Please contact us if you require the licence to be extended.

How do I use layer filters in my CAD software?

We offer two versions of MasterMap® in CAD format. One is the ‘Standard’ version where there are up to 20 different layers of data while on the ‘Pro’ version there are up to 67 individual layers of geographical information. The ‘Pro’ option also features filtering options to help group the layers together or select the ones you would like to use each time e.g. all historic feature layers. You can do that in your CAD software.

I can’t see the map I’ve ordered, what’s happened?

There may be a number of possible reasons for this. You may have ordered a map in CAD format (DWG or DXF) and do not have CAD software. If you've done this by accident, no problem, contact us and we can convert it to a format like PDF that can be viewed on most computers. If you're using AutoCAD or similar, there may be a 'Zoom to Extents' button which may then show the mapping. If you still can't see the map and have CAD software, a good test is to upload your DWG or DXF file to this free Autodesk Viewer) to check if the map file is okay. If it isn't, please contact us.

How do I download the map I’ve ordered?

When you place an order you get a link where you can download your mapping from and this is also e-mailed to you.

How do I scale the map I have ordered?

Maps are only scaled once they are printed out. To obtain a map of a certain scale, select the ‘Paper Size’ button and choose the scale that you need and the paper size. Finally select the map type that you need and remember that OS MasterMap® is the most detailed mapping and is the only one suitable for planning applications. For CAD format maps, the scaling can be set within the software.

How do I print the map I have ordered?

You will need to use software you’re using to view the map. That will either be CAD software for DWG and DXF format maps or software that can open PDF or PNG if you’ve ordered this format.

Why hasn’t the map printed at the right scale?

If you’ve downloaded a PDF, check your printer to ensure it’s set to print at 100% scale. If it is then scaling issues will be down to the original mapping provided by the Ordnance Survey. Please contact them directly about this as we cannot edit the maps. For CAD format maps, the scaling can be set within the software.

What happens if I make a mistake?

We can refund the order however we may deduct a 30% fee to cover the Ordnance Survey royalty charges and administration costs. It is important to check before ordering that the correct area, map type and licencing is selected.

I cannot open my PDF file.

Check that you have the latest Adobe Reader or similar viewer installed. If not you can click on the following link and download it for free Adobe Reader.

I cannot open my CAD map.

Check that you have CAD software installed. You can download a free viewer here Autodesk Viewer.

My link has expired, what do I do?

The link is valid for 12 months from the day of purchase. If you need the download link for more than that please contact us.

Can I make changes to my map after purchase?

No, it is not possible to make changes to the map after purchase. If a mistake has been made you can place a new order and we can refund you the original, but we may deduct a 30% fee to cover royalty charges and administration costs. It is important to check before ordering that the correct area, map type and licencing is selected.

I added lines but they do not appear on the map.

The site will only deliver the plan and any red / blue lines you've added and previewed on the site. To add a line to the plan (red or blue) you need to click on the colour button you want and then move to the map and click to outline whatever property you want. You'll see the property will be outlined in the red or blue lines if you've done this correctly. If you reorder, we can then refund your plan minus 30% to cover costs we incur.

My map doesn’t cover much of the paper.

The plan should cover an entire sheet of A4 if printed at 100% size. The map portion however is only a portion of this otherwise the scale would not be correct. We also need to display copyright information, location and licence details.

What do the CAD layer names mean?

Our maps in CAD format come in layers with each type of geographical information seperated for ease of formatting. We’ve used obvious layer names so you can understand what each layer represents. Additionally, if you’ve ordered an optional extra layer like ‘1m contours’, the order email will detail the layer names.

Still need to contact us?

Contact Form
There maybe a number of possible reasons for this, including that you many have zoomed out too far for it to be visible. A good test is to upload your DWG or DXF file to this free Autodesk viewer to check the map file is okay.

Or call 03301333850 (Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm)