A journey through maps

'You are Here' is an exhibition that challenges what we know about maps, how they are made and how we understand them.

Runs from 22 July 2016 to 2 April 2017.


Illustration of two modern people on an old map

The National Library of Scotland's exhibition demonstrates the versatility and beauty of maps, and the skill of the cartographers who created them.

Maps are everywhere: on our phones, in our cars, on walls, bus stops and adverts. But how much do we really know about them?

'You are Here' explores our world through maps, asking questions about how maps are made and how we understand them.


Zooming out

Exhibition visitors can wander through the maps on display, zooming out from the Library itself, to view the whole world.

'You are here' includes one of the finest plans of Edinburgh, the first map of Scotland, as well as railway, fishing and schoolroom maps. You can explore:


Maps questions answered

Six experimental projections of the world

Drawn from our collection of more than two million maps and atlases, together the maps in the exhibition explore the answers to common questions:

More about how maps work


Maps glossary

Many words are required to describe features, methods and skills used in reading maps and mapmaking.

You can learn about cartographic words and their meanings in our maps glossary.


Exhibition highlights

A wide range of amazing maps are on display in 'You are Here', including:

Visitors can also see one of the largest and most splendid atlases ever made — the Blaeu Atlas Maior.


Visitors to the exhibition can:

A mountain showing plant distribution
'The physical atlas'
February's 'Map of the month'.
  • See a 'smell map' of Edinburgh — showing the origin of Auld Reekie's various smells, and where they travel on a south-westerly wind
  • Learn how place names change over time, and why
  • Examine a theodolite — a surveying instrument used to measure angles and calculate distances for mapping
  • Collect orienteering stamps by answering questions around the exhibition.
  • View a new map every month in our special 'Map of the month' display.


Exhibition opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10.00-20.00
Saturday: 10.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00

See also: Festive season opening hours

Admission: free


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