Researchers and students will now be able to view and print Ordnance Survey maps at scales up to street-level details.
The Digimap service available through Edina, the Joint Information Systems Committee-funded national datacentre based at Edinburgh University's data library.
Ordnance Survey and JISC, acting for the higher education funding councils, have struck a deal allowing up to 172 subscribing institutions to use the data for teaching and research. Digimap enables users to produce a map using a "legend" tool to switch on and off any combination of features, ranging from roads and railways to coastlines.
The maps can be kept and downloaded for display on the web or for printing. Students investigating tourism, for example, could check areas accessible to tourists by road. Large-scale maps have been used in a project on monitoring pollution and air quality in a city centre pedestrianisation scheme.
JISC negotiator Dave Cook said: "We are securing access to definitive map data of Britain for the benefit of the higher education community as a whole." Details at http://edina.ac.uk/digimap/about.html