skip to content

Pictures, clockwise from top left: Nepal, 1967 and 1903 (Maps.c.383.96.1 and Maps.c.383.90.1) ; Tokyo, 1860 (Maps.aa.356.86.1) ; Khumbu Hindu, Nepal (Maps.383.01.1) ; Mandalay, 1894 (Maps.344.89.8)  

Between September 2017 and September 2019, the Map Department undertook a Targeted Retrospective Conversion project, the aim of which was to convert catalogue cards for maps of specific countries to online records which wiould then be findable via iDiscover.

The importance of this is that the vast majority of the Map Department’s collections are only described in our card catalogue, which means they are not findable via the Library’s online catalogue – an obvious disadvantage and barrier to discovery and use.

Searching iDiscover 

If you want to know how to find all these lovely maps in iDiscover, have a look at the guidance here but, in summary, you need to go to 'Advanced Search' and do a Subject search for a place-name followed by the word 'maps', e.g. Japan maps


Extract from Maps.c.356.88.2. Map of Tokyo published in about 1880


See the overall progress of the retrospective conversion project on this map.

COMPLETED (note that one catalogue record may describe one map, several thousand maps, or anything in between!):

Bhutan and its parts (33 new online catalogue records) 

Cambodia and its parts (35 new online catalogue records)

Laos and its parts (23 new online catalogue records)

Thailand and its parts (103 catalogue cards resulting in 156 new online catalogue records)

Vietnam and its parts, and Indochina (207 cards resulting in 242 online records)

Myanmar (Burma) and its parts (304 new online catalogue records)

Nepal and its parts (87 catalogue cards resulting in 91 new online catalogue records)

Japan and its parts (627 catalogue cards resulting in 842 new online catalogue records ; Japanese characters will be added to the catalogue records where appropriate)

Maps of The Netherlands in Dutch


The first country to be completed was Myanmar (Burma) and as a result 304 new catalogue records for maps of Myanmar and its parts have been added to the online catalogue. These records describe more than 300 maps and complement the small number of records that had already been available in iDiscover. The earliest of the newly catalogued maps are three dating from 1825, right in the middle of the First Anglo-Burmese War. They are a map of the environs of Rangoon (Maps.c.344(1).82.1) and two maps of the Burmese Empire (Maps.a.342.82.1  and  Maps.aa.342(1).82.1). Other maps include a malaria map from 1940 (Maps.342.94.13 ) and a transportation map from 1944 (Maps.321.06.1 ; with 1963 reprint at Maps.c.342(1).94.1)

Burma was chosen as our first target to reflect the relevance of our collection to current affairs, to support current research and to help illustrate the research potential of our collections.  It was also prompted by the great interest shown in our three huge maps on cloth of parts of Burma which date from circa 1860 and which can be viewed on Cambridge Digital Library.



The Map Department is happy to welcome (pre-booked) groups of students to the Map Room to see these, or any other, maps. We have a collection of over 1.3 million maps (plus several thousand atlases) covering all parts of the world from the later 15th century to the present time, so there is something for everyone! Get in touch.

Opening Times

Map Room Opening Times

Monday to Thursday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 5:10pm
Friday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 4:50pm 

i.e., we are closed lunch time, in the evenings and on Saturdays. However, given sufficient notice, we may be able to transfer Map Department items to the Rare Books Reading Room for consultation during these closed periods. 

Remember: Pencils only in the Map Room and No food or drink!

Where to Find Us

Library Floorplan

The Map Room - the Map Department's Reading Room - is on the first floor of the Library at the far end of the North Gallery. At the top of the stairs from the Library's Entrance Hall, turn right and the Map Room is at the end of the corridor. 

We are very close to the Tea Room.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042
Our LibGuide may help with some enquiries