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Map Collections and Online Map Catalogues

(See also Information Sheets 2A and 2B. Also, many of the library catalogues listed on the University Library's Library Catalogues page will contain map records). 

NB Only a small part of Cambridge University Library's map collection is catalogued online. This is the same in many other libraries so bear this in mind when searching their online catalogues. Although now a little outdated the article here may be of interest. 

Also see the Map Collections pages on the Map History / History of Cartography site.

Directory of UK Map Collections

Archives Collections and Catalogues, some of which will include maps:

  • Access to Archives (A2A). Catalogue describing archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day. The resources described for the A2A project can now be searched via The National Archives Discovery catalogue. 
  • ArchiveSearch. Online catalogue of archives held throughout Cambridge University.
  • Archives Hub. Brings together descriptions of thousands of the UK’s archive collections - a national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges.
  • ARCHON Directory. Includes contact details for record repositories in the United Kingdom.
  • Cambridge Archivists Group. For archivists and others who are interested in the profession in Cambridge. Find details of local events taking place, as well as news features on projects in the city. 
  • Cambridge Dissertation Fair. Guide to library and archive collections in Cambridge that might provide original source material for your dissertation. Includes tips on using archives.
  • Historic EnglandThe public archive of Historic England (new name from 1 April 2015 for English Heritage) providing information on the archaeology and architecture of England. Includes maps, plans, drawings, aerial photographs. Also try the Heritage Gateway for listing information and local historic environment records.
  • The National Archives (TNA). One of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history including many maps some of which can be located via their online Discovery catlogue. Some can be viewed in the Image Library. Their Research Guides are also useful, in particular see guide on Maps and Plans. See also the help with your research pages. The National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) preserves and provides online access to archived digital datasets and documents from UK central government departments may also be of interest. Try their Valuation Office Map Finder which allows you to identify and order Valuation Office Survey maps of England and Wales from 1910 to 1915 but which can also be used to find OS County Series sheetlines for other purposes.
  • National Records of Scotland (NRS). [Formed on 1 April 2011 from the merger of the National Archives of Scotland with the General Register Office for Scotland]. In particular ScotlandsPlaces - a joint venture between The National Records of Scotland (NRS), Historic Environment Scotland and National Library of Scotland which includes catalogues and digital copies of maps, plans, photographs and other records from each institution.

Bodleian Library Map Room. Includes their Accessions and Map Lists. Some map records are included in their online catalogue and their card catalogue is now searchable as an on-line flip-book. See also the Selden Map of China and the Gough Map of Great Britain.

British Geological Survey (BGS) Library. The Survey's library includes geological mapping from all over the World. BGS website includes links to scanned records.

British Library Map Library. The largest publicly accessible map collection in the country. See the Collection Guides. Includes the map collection of the India Office Records. Click here for their Cartographical Collections guide and for Imaging/Digitisation Services. Catalogue records for items in the collections can be found via Explore the British Library (note that the The India Office Records can be searched at Search our Catalogue Archives and Manuscripts). See the Online Gallery for images of maps and also explore the Georeferenced map collection. The First Atlas of Europe in the Virtual Books/Turning the Pages section of their web site might also be of interest. A selection of military intelligence maps and associated documents from the War Office Archive relating to the former British East Africa have also been catalogued, conserved and digitised. Maps and views from King George III Topographical and Maritime Collection can be seen on Flickr ; useful tips on searching for the maps on Flickr. The Cambridge sheet of the Ordnance Survey Drawings (1808) can be seen here.

British Museum. Online catalogue of its collections including prints, drawings and views. Note that the catalogue is not yet complete. Includes images of some items. 

Cambridge University Library. One of the six Legal Deposit Libraries. iDiscover is the Library's online catalogue. Click here for tips on searching iDiscover for maps and atlases and here for more information on the Map Department collections. [When iDiscover is unavailable use Library Hub Discover where you can limit your search to University of Cambridge Libraries by clicking on 'More search options' and selecting 'University of Cambridge Libraries' from the 'Library' section​].

Cartesius Project. Search for maps digitised by various institutions in Belgium - city scapes, aerial photos, orthophotos, sketches and drawings. More information available here 

CartoMundi. A collaborative project producing a union catalogue of maps and plans of all parts of the world though originally concentrating on Mediterranean countries. Includes written descriptions of maps and map series, graphic indexes and, in the Digital Map Library section, some map images. 

COPAC (see Library Hub Discover)

Early English Books Online. Search for maps using the Advanced Search option. (May not be available outside 'cam' domain).

Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS). A national data service providing access and support for an extensive range of key economic and social data, both quantitative and qualitative, spanning many disciplines and themes. ESDS provides an integrated service offering enhanced support for the secondary use of data across the research, learning and teaching communities. Includes some map data. 

Enclosure Maps. Electronic catalogue of enclosure maps of England and Wales (click on the 'search catalogue' button on the left hand side) to accompany the printed book by Roger J. P. Kain, John Chapman, and Richard R. Oliver,The Enclosure Maps of England and Wales, 1595-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2004). CUL classmark S696.b.200.131. 

Eighteenth Century Collections Online. In Advanced Search look for items containing maps. (May not be available outside 'cam' domain).

Geological Society. Extensive collection of geological maps and related documents.

Guildhall Library - print and map collections. See London Metropolitan Archives.

History Data Service (HDS). Collects, preserves, and promotes the use of digital resources, which result from or support historical research, learning and teaching. The History Data Service is a successor service to AHDS History which from 1996 to March 2008 was one of the five centres of the Arts and Humanities Data Service. Includes Historic Parishes of England and Wales : an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata.

Hydrographic Office Archive (UKHO). Supports the day-to-day operations of the UKHO and is also a place of deposit under the Public Records Act. It contains hundreds of thousands of hydrographic records in varying formats and in different languages. No Online catalogue though scans of the old Admiralty chart catalogues are available. Thousands of documents have been transferred to The National Archives.

IKAR. Database from a consortium of German libraries containing bibliographic records of printed thematic and topographic maps, navigational and celestial charts, town plans, bird´s-eye views, globes, and atlases up to 1850 (world-wide coverage). Records also available through the KVK catalogue (a world-wide union catalogue).

Library Hub Discover A union catalogue providing free access to the merged online catalogues of major university and research libraries in the UK and Ireland. Includes map records where available. Note that the online catalogues of the individual libraries will, inevitably, be slightly more current than Library Hub Discover. Tips on searching Library Hub Discover can be found here. A list of contributing libraries can be found here.

Library of Congress Geography & Map Reading Room. Vast map collection with many map records available in their online catalogue. Also an online Map Collection with map images. 

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) Large collection of maps, views, etc. of London with online catalogue for part of collection. London Picture Archive, their image database, includes some maps and views.

National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP). Aerial imagery from around the world some of which is available online. 

National Library of Scotland. Extensive collection particularly strong on Scottish mapping. Some map records are included in the online catalogue. Their website includes some useful links and some excellent images of maps of Scotland including the Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-1755 (although not a NLS website see also the Roy's Roads website which includes a tracing of his roads on a modern map) and some Georeferenced maps including Scottish coastal charts, Ordnance Survey 1944-1950 Air Photo Mosaics of Scotland, smaller scale maps of England, Wales, Ireland and Belgium, and their holdings of British trench maps of the Western Front at scales of 1:20,000 (GSGS 2742), 1:10,000 (GSGS 3062) and larger. They have scanned, and made available online, all the OS County Series maps for Scotland - 40,120 map sheets as well as the six inch (1:10,560) County Series maps for England and Wales and some 25" (1:2,500) scale County Series maps of England and Wales. Use their Ordnance Survey Sheet Records Tool to find sheetlines for large scale OS maps, NLS holdings and, for some of the series, publication dates. To get the most from the map images, see these tips on using the site. National Library of Scotland is also an Ordnance Survey Licensed Partner, and from April 2013 has been able to offer a new service providing copies of in-copyright superseded Ordnance Survey maps for commercial and non-private uses, and is also home of the Bartholomew Archive. The Library's Digital Gallery may also be of interest. Among the National Library of Scotland's greatest treasures are the earliest surviving detailed maps of Scotland, made by Timothy Pont over 400 years ago, in the 1580s and 1590s. See also Maps of Jamaica by James Robertson, 1804.  Their Research Guides are also really useful.

National Library of Wales. Extensive collection with a particular strength in the mapping of Wales. Search for (some of their) maps in their online catalogue. Check out their Welsh Tithe Maps - Places of Wales website which incorporates tithe map and apportionment document data collected as part of the Cynefin : Mapping Wales’ sense of Place project.

National Maritime Museum. Strong on charts, maritime atlases and globes. Some online images

Natural History Museum. Extensive collection of geological maps and related documents. World wide coverage. Online catalogue records are also available on Library Hub Discover.

Royal Geographical Society. Excellent map collection. Many map records are included in their online catalogue.

ScotlandsPlaces. A joint venture between The National Records of Scotland (NRS), Historic Environment Scotland and National Library of Scotland. Includes catalogues and digital copies of maps, plans, photographs and other records from each institution.  

ShareGeo. Was a repository of geospatial data.

Sir John Soane's Museum Online Catalogue. Of particular interest may be the drawings catalogue which includes some plans of buildings, etc. The catalogue includes scanned images of many of the items. 

Trinity College Library Dublin. One of the six Legal Deposit Libraries. The excellent map collection is, naturally, strong in Irish materials. Some maps can be found via their online catalogue.

Town Maps of Great Britain. Electronic catalogue of British town maps. Each entry has detailed bibliographic information plus a diagram showing the area covered by the map. Accompanied by a printed book of the same title by Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver, The Town Maps of Great Britain.

World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC). Project aiming to provide a secure home for soil survey reports, maps, imagery and photographs produced by British companies and surveyors overseas over the last 80 years in 250 territories, with a view to ensuring their enduring availability and protection.

Current Services

Note that the Map Room is still closed to in-person visits though pre-booked items can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room 

Email us at maps@lib.cam.ac.uk for assistance and if you need to consult our card catalogue or look at Ordnance Survey data.

Note that there are very reduced catering facilities in the Library.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
Cambridge 
CB3 9DR 

Email: maps@lib.cam.ac.uk

Telephone:
+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042