Geography and exploration

Graphics illustrating travel and geography

From the largest map collection in Scotland to the archive of explorer David Livingstone, discover National Library of Scotland resources on geography and the world around us.

Find out how explorers in the past developed our understanding of the world and learn about the people, places and environments of the world today.

Learning resources

Specially designed to support classroom teaching using the Library's collections.

Map detail with highlighted area

You are here: 10 things you need to know about maps looks at key questions about how maps are made and how we understand them. It features interactive quizzes and downloadable learning activities.


Ernest Shackleton

Shackleton and Wordie pages look at items relating to Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 and the expedition's Scottish geologist, James Wordie.


Scott's last expedition looks at items in the Library's polar collections relating to the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913, and includes discussion points.


The David Livingstone 'Themes in focus' pages introduce the life and travels of 19th-century Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone through items in Library collections.


Salen Hotel painting

The 'Great escapes' resource provides an insight into tourism in Scotland in the mid-19th century. Includes a guide for teachers on running a cross-curricular local studies project.


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Library video guides

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Watch our video guides to find out how to access National Library of Scotland resources from home, school or in person.

Mapping History

Mapping History: A guide to using historical maps

Learn more about reading and using historical maps in this online guide.

Library favourites

Paula Williams

Paula Williams introduces items from Captain Scott's last expedition collection. Watch video

Library learning for you

If there's a topic you'd like more information about or if you have any suggestions for learning, email us.

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