Simple campus maps using Digimap ROAM

Campus maps are an integral part of an institutions website.  Each year they help the thousands of visitors find their way around the university.  Institutions that subscribe to Digimap are able to publish Ordnance Survey maps on their website for visitors to use to navigate around the campus.  There has been a bit of confusion about whether the licence allowed institutions to do this so it is worth clarifying the point.  Under the Digimap licence:

  • universities can use OS maps to provide information on the location of their buildings. These maps can be made available for visitors to download.
  • universities cannot use OS data from Digimap for commercial gain.  This means using data to analyse the spatial distribution of incoming/outgoing students. Such analysis would allow universities to target advertising campaigns to improve their business model.

Therefore, universities can take advantage of the richness of detail provided by the OS for their campus maps.  Provided that they adhere to the licence and attach the appropriate copyright statement shown below:

© Crown Copyright/database right 20(yy). An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.

Navigating around a city centre campus requires a level of detail that is not always available through providers such as Google and Bing.  OS Mastermap offers the most detailed map view of Great Britain.  Using this as a backdrop to a campus map would certainly give visitors the best chance of navigating successfully navigating between buildings.

In this post, we will look at how you can make simple campus maps that could be used to guide visitors on special events such as open days. This method is very easy, it requires no specialist training or software, just a Digimap subscription and access to a web browser.

Annotating in ROAM

It is possible to annotate maps using the Digimap ROAM service.  Annotations can be added and saved as pdf documents that could be posted on the University website for users to download and print off.  You will find Digimap ROAM in the OS collection on the Digimap home page. Lets work through the process step by step.

Start ROAM and navigate to your campus. Zoom in until you can see Mastermap, the building outlines should be quite clear.

Fig 1 - Mastermap view of a university campus

Clicking on the annotation icon (speech bubble button above the map) to launch the annotation toolbar (see below).  To digitise a building you will have to select the polygon tool. It is also a good idea to set up the outline and fill colours for the polygons, in this example i have selected a grey outline and a blue fill for university buildings and a grey outline with red fill for accommodation buildings.

Annotate Tool Bar

Fig 2 - Annotate Tool Bar


Once you are happy with the colours you are ready to digitise the building outlines. Click on building corners and double click to complete a shape. Don’t worry if you are a bit approximate, we will look at how you edit a shape in a moment.

Editing a polygon

If you need to refine your polygons you should select the modify button on the annotation toolbar (Tip – hover the mouse over the buttons to read the tool tips). Next, click on the polygon you want to edit, you should notice that small nodes appear at the corners of each line in the polygon (see image below)

Fig 3 - Edit polygon

The dark nodes represent the clicks you made while digitising and the light nodes represent the mid-points between your clicks.  If you move the mouse over these nodes you should notice that the cursor changes to a directional cross. When the cursor is in this this form, you can click and drag the node to a new location. Clicking and dragging a light node will create a new node in your polygon.

Fig 4 - Edited Polygon

Repeat this process to digitise more buildings on campus. Perhaps vary the colour of the polygons to represent different building functions where appropriate.  Once you have all the buildings digitised there are a couple of options open to you:

  1. Customise the map further by removing content from the base map
  2. Annotate the buildings with text
  3. Annotate the buildings with numbers then generate a document to explain these numbers and merge the two resulting pdf’s

Lets work through these points in turn, you can decide which options are most appropriate for your map.

1. Customising the map – The map shown in the image above is OK, but a couple of features are not quite as i want them.  Some of the lines and text on the map may be confusing to the users and makes the map look cluttered.

In Digimap ROAM you can customise the a number of the map products, including Mastermap.  In the Map Content Control section of the Task Menu you will find a long list of tick boxes.  To remove an item from the map, just untick the box next to it. I have decided to remove the administrative boundary (dashed purple line) and the building names from the map.  The image below shows the Map Content Control panel with Boundaries and  Building Text unticked and the resulting map.

Fig 5 - Customising the map using Map Content Control

2. Annotating maps with text – We want to add some labels to our map, click the annotate toolbar that we used earlier and format the text to suit your needs. In this example i have picked 20px and a red font colour, this should stand out against the blue buildings.  Then just click where you want the text to appear. You can move and edit the text if you need to, just use the select tool and click on the text. (Tip – the text tool cannot handle line breaks so you have to start a new piece of text. In this example, “Accom Services” is made up of two seperate text entries.)

Add Text

Fig 6 - Add text to inform users


3. Annotate the buildings with numbers – In this example we have again used the text tool but have added building numbers. You could then create a seperate document listing the numbers and the buildings or seThese numbers could then be added as an extra page so as the user could print the map out as a 2-sided document. This is particularly useful when a building has multiple functions and adding all of these to the map itself could confuse the user.


Fig 7 - Another way to add information to the map

When you are happy with the annotations, centre the map on your area of interest and click the print button.  A new window will appear which guides you through the print process. The print file is a pdf which you can either print immediately or save the file and link to it from a web site. The options available to you are:

  • Select the paper size (A3 or A4)
  • select the paper format (landscape or portrait).
  • give the map a title
  • add grid lines (useful if you are displaying a large region on an approach map)

All the required copyright statements will be automatically added to the map for you.  You can then press Generate and the PDF will be created.  Click the link below to see an example of a completed map.


If you have any questions about how your institution might make use of maps from Digimap, or have a question relating to annotations, please send us an email to

In the next post, we will look at some more advanced uses of Digimap data in campus maps.

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  1. Pingback: Making a Campus Map in Digimap Roam | Digimap

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