A street map, as the name suggests, is a map that primarily displays roads in preference to natural geographical information, showing the names of the streets and their position in a town or area. In addition to roads, street maps often include points of interest such as schools and hospitals.

There are many different types of street maps available with different advantages to them; some basic and some highly stylised. Much of the street mapping used here at the Business Map Centre either is, or originates from, Ordnance Survey mapping. We also use other sources of street mapping such as Open Street Map, particularly for non-UK areas.

Street mapping such as OS Street View can be provided unchanged from the data that we are initially provided with, some like Map Vu 10 have been altered slightly, whereas A-Z and Philips’ street mapping has incorporated material acquired by their own cartographers from other sources such as Department of Transport, County, and Borough Councils and has been greatly enhanced.

Let’s look at some of the differences between the four street map datasets that we use here:

OS Street View

OS Street View (at 10,000 scale) is a generalised and simplified street-level map, offered in Raster format. This mapping is updated twice a year by the Ordnance Survey so is always very current. The main advantage of this is that it is “Open data” – which means that there are no restrictions on its use, so as long as the usage is within British law this data can be used for any project or reselling purpose that you may require it for.

OS Street View is therefore particularly suitable for print jobs where hundreds or thousands of copies are required to be printed. Mapping that is not “open data” is subject to print royalties (based on the square kilometerage covered on the ground) which are paid back to the Ordnance Survey, therefore the royalties can add up quite significantly on these jobs. Street View can thus keep costs much lower when printing in bulk.

OS Street View Map

OS Street View Map

Map Vu 10

It is worth explaining at this point the difference between Raster and Vector data.

Raster data (such as the OS Street View discussed above) uses pixels (like a photograph) and consists of a flat single layered image. This data can only be blown up by a finite amount before pixilation of the image occurs and the picture quality suffers.

You can of course add images and layers over the top of Raster data, such as logos, titles, etc.

Vector data can be blown up in size without pixilation as Vector files don’t use pixels – they use mathematical formulae to blow the image up exponentially without loss of clarity in the text or line work. This means that the map scale can be enlarged to make the image size larger and easier to read.

Map Vu 10 (at 1:10,000 scale) is the only street map dataset that is available in Vector format. Therefore, it is ideal for print jobs where the image needs to be blown up to a much greater final print size, while keeping visual integrity.

Another advantage of Vector data is that it consists of layers for each mapping feature – e.g. there are layers for A roads, B roads, rivers, buildings and so on. Each layer can then be manipulated to turn them on/off, recolour them, or resize them, etc and many other amendments besides.

Map Vu 10 Street Map

Map Vu 10 Street Map

A-Z Classic street & Philip’s Street

A-Z and Philip’s street mapping are both held in Raster format and are our premium map offerings because they have been assiduously restyled and added to by cartographers, which gives them many benefits.

For instance, Whereas some street mapping misses off street names that won’t fit into small road spaces, the editorial work performed on A-Z and Philip’s ensures that they are present and that the name is fitted as near to the location as possible.

Both datasets display places of interest in detail, such as schools, museums, parks, hospitals, overland rail & tube lines and stations, etc, and these points of interest are, where possible, individually named (e.g. so you know that the location is “St Martin’s College” etc). On the more basic types of street map you will often just find the location just abbreviated by letters (e.g. “sch” for school).

Superscale data exists for both these map styles for certain city centres. The level of detail on these can be quite thorough as per the below sample:


A-Z Street Mapping with Superscale Data

A-Z Street Mapping with Superscale Data


A-Z mapping is instantly recognisable. The classic A-Z street mapping style uses bright oranges & yellows for A & B roads so that they stand out quickly, minor roads are in white and built up areas are in a light salmon shade.

We output A-Z street mapping at 1:14,000 scale, which is larger print than the standard A-Z Atlas books.

A-Z mapping is the best street mapping to use in conjunction with an index of streets. The streets listed alphabetically in the index are present on the map and this is not always the case with some types of street mapping where roads that are present on the index have been taken out of the map because of issues of space.

A-Z also uses colour coding to identify the usage of a building. This colouring can help to identify: industrial buildings, leisure/recreation, place of interest, shopping centre/market, and hospital/healthcare.

Other features of A-Z are that house numbers are shown at certain points on A & B roads and one- way systems are also marked.


A-Z street mapping at 1:14,000 scale

A-Z street mapping at 1:14,000 scale


Philip’s uses green for Primary roads, pink for A roads, orange for B roads and yellow & white for C and minor roads respectively.

We output Philip’s street mapping at 1:18,000 and some key advantages of this mapping are that it identifies an exhaustive array of features on the mapping and it also provides a complete level of urban & rural coverage.

Philips Street Mapping

Philips Street Mapping

Here is a comparison table to give a quick reference to some of the differences between the display of features on the street maps that we use:

Comparison Table of Street Maps

Comparison Table of Street Maps