Search site


Glossary of Terms

Base Map
Base maps provide the background on which other information can be added. A variety of base maps have been used on this web site. Each one is displayed automatically depending on the map scale. Online Maps allows you to switch between colour or black and white base maps according to preference.

A button may be one of several types - push button, radio, toggle or check. They are activated by positioning the mouse cursor over it and pressing the left mouse button.

Check Box
A small box which you can click on to add or remove layers or the key map. It is also used for other functions such as to display the key map or grid reference.

The collective term for individual locations shown on map layers. These features are overlain and linked to a position on the graphical image of a base map. Examples of features are lines, points, areas and buildings.

One of the technical things that Online Maps can do. Some examples of functions are Address Search, Find Nearest and Map Layers, all of which allow you to find out different information relating to the map.

Geographical Information System (GIS)
A computer-based system for creating, storing, viewing and analysing map based data.

Grid Reference
A set of numbers that designate a location on the map.

Interactive Maps
These are sets of map layers where you can make individual layers visible/invisible, you can move around the map, print and much more.

The term for individual features shown on map layers. These items are overlain and linked to a position on the base map. Examples of items are lines, points, areas and buildings.

Key Map
A key map gives an overall view of an area, and indicates on it the particular area of current interest. This allows you to see where the area you are viewing in the map window is in relation to the rest of the district.

A key to show the colours and styles that have been used to represent a map layer. The legend can be found beside the names of the map layers. On map layers that contain sublayers, the legend can be found by clicking on the + sign beside the map layer.

Map Layers
Also known as overlays, they are sets of plotted features that are superimposed onto the base maps. These can be thought of as transparent sheets that are laid on top of each other. Layers can be added or removed using a check box.

Map Scale
The relationship between the size of an object on the map and its size in the real world. In the UK, most map scales are metric and are shown, for example, as 1:10,000 which represents a scale of 1cm equal to 10,000cm. Often, the difference between large and small map scales is confused. The larger the ratio, the smaller the map scale. Therefore, a map of the district would have a small scale, whereas a map of a housing estate will have a large scale.

Map Tools
These are located above and to left hand side of the map. Clicking on different tools allows the mouse to function differently.

Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey are a UK government mapping agency offering a wide range of mapping products, from traditional walking maps and road maps to large-scale maps and digital products. Visit the Ordnance Survey web site for more information.

The term used for moving the map in any direction.

A function to display progressively smaller (zoom in) or larger (zoom out) areas of a map in an interactive map window.

This page has been created to help you understand the terms used in this web site. For further information or assistance please e-mail

Updated: 25 Nov 2014
Powered by GOSS iCM