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Cartography Web Resouces
History of Cartography Web Resources What exactly is a map? In simplest terms, maps are visual representations of your surroundings; they are symbolic displays of (usually) geographic data. That is, of course, oversimplifying the matter. Maps can be physical (on paper or other material) or virtual (digital or otherwise immaterial). They can represent a vast array of features ranging from bike paths and highways to burial mounds and streams. They can supply an endless arrangement of information ranging from city populations to rates of erosion to animal habitats. There is a map for every need and many needs require a unique map. For example, atlases , gazetteers , plat books , topographic maps , Sanborn Fire Insurance maps , nautical charts , and aerial photographs are all very different cartographic resources.The Map Library holds maps from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries from the United States and around the world. We have print single-sheet maps stored in vertical map drawers (we will help you extract what you need), maps in books stored on the shelves (feel free to help yourself!), and select maps on microfilm and microfiche. Staff can even point you to maps online . If you aren’t sure what kind of map you need, you can ask any of our staff; we are here to help!

Excluding large map sets, most maps are cataloged with records in the UIUC online catalog . However, it can be difficult to find maps in the online catalog. Potentially useful maps might belong to map sets and others might not be cataloged. Therefore, Library staff are always happy to offer assistance in finding maps.The Map Library also has an extensive collection of books on cartographic techniques, the history of cartography, and map reading.

Map Borrowing Policies

Maps in the collection are organized by Library of Congress G-Classification System. Most maps are cataloged individually. Topographic maps and nautical and aeronautical charts are cataloged as sets. We ask that patrons do not attempt to retrieve maps from map cases on their own. Library employees will pull requested maps and will assist in browsing through map drawers.

Maps printed before 1960, mounted on cloth, or encapsulated may not be borrowed. Some maps may have borrowing restrictions placed on them for reasons of physical condition, irreplacability, or heavy demand.

Maps are usually loaned rolled up in map tubes. Maps should not be folded. Tape and Post-It notes should not be used to hang maps or to mark locations. Pins also should not be used to hang maps. Ask the Map Library staff for “map friendly” ideas for hanging and displaying maps. Maps are not available for use after 5:00pm on weekdays or any time on weekends.

Maps may be borrowed for one week with a UIUC ID.

Maps are not loaned through interlibrary loan. Scanning services to obtain digital images of maps are available through the Library’s Digital Content Creation Services .

Cartography Web Resources

ICA Commission on Map Design Examples

What are map projections?
A primer on map projections from Esri.

Milestones in the History of Thematic Cartography

Forums and Blogs

CartoTalk – A Public Forum for Cartography and Design
An international forum for cartography professionals discussing all things cartographic including GIS, job postings, design solutions, software applications, interactive mapping, and what’s hot in cartography.

The Map Room – A Weblog About Maps
“A blog that points to maps, map collections, map-related resources, and material about maps on the web. Anything that fits under that rubric, from medieval mappæ mundi to satellite imagery, and from topo maps to Tolkien, is fair game.” Active March 2003-June 2011.

Google Maps Mania
“An unofficial Google Maps blog tracking the websites, mashups and tools being influenced by Google Maps.”

“A weblog for members of the Canadian Cartographic Association and other individuals interested in all things cartographic” Blog activity ceased in 2006, but its archived entries are interesting

Map of the Week

Map Lab — Wired Science


The Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA)
Includes back copies of its newsletter, Cartouche.

Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS)
“CaGIS is composed of educators, researchers and practitioners involved in the design, creation, use and dissemination of geographic information. CaGIS provides an effective network that connects professionals who work in the broad field of Cartography and Geographic Information Science both nationally and internationally.” Includes a link to their Careers in Cartography and GIS brochure.

North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS)
Includes archived issues of Cartographic Perspectives.

Society of Cartographers (United Kingdom)

Association of American Geographers Cartography Specialty Group

Official news outlet of the Association of American Geographers Cartography Specialty Group


An online journal for theoretical cartography and cartosemiotics.

Cartography and Geographic Information Science
Formerly Cartography and Geographic Information Systems and previously American Cartographer

Bulletin of the Society of Cartographers

Cartographic Perspectives
North American Cartographic Information Society

Available full-text online through Library’s online journals collection, 1997-

History of Cartography Web Resources

Online Texts and Portals
University of Chicago Press THE History of Cartography
“An important scholarly enterprise, the History of Cartography … is the most ambitious overview of map making ever undertaken.” Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are available online as PDFs. Other volumes will follow (eventually). Created at the History of Cartography Project .

Map History/History of Cartography
Resources compiled by Tony Campbell, former Map Librarian of the British Library.

International Society for the History of the Map Discussion List (ISHMap-list)
Listserv discussion group on historic cartographic items includes librarians, historians, and cartographers among its subscribers. Successor to the MapHist listserv.

Open information project for map history. Includes dictionary of mapmakers and glossary of terms.

History of Cartography Timelines
Brussels International Map Collectors’ Circle

The Portolan (Journal of the Washington Map Society)
“Published regularly three times per year– Spring, Fall and Winter. It is the only journal of its kind published in the Americas focusing on the history of cartography, map collecting, and cartography …The contents comprise a rich mix of cartographic interest.” Available in print 1984-current.

Mapline (a newsletter of the Newberry Library)
Published by The Newberry Library. ” Mapline is a subscription newsletter devoted to reporting timely events in the study of the history of cartography. It functions as a bulletin to announce recent acquisitions to the cartographic collections at the Newberry, and to keep readers informed of the center’s work, publications, and sponsored events. The newsletter also contains brief reports on conferences, exhibitions, and societies and lectures beyond the Newberry.” Available in print 1976-current.

Map Collector’s Series (book series published by the Map Collector’s Circle.)
The series aim was “stimulating interest in and publish material on early printed maps, atlases, cartographers, etc.” The series does not have a cumulative index. Fortunately, librarian Paula Dryburg compiled an index online while serving with Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Available in print 1963-1975.

The Map Collector (periodical)
Published quarterly in the United Kingdom. It focused on the history of cartography, collecting antique maps., and cartographic ephemera. Available in print 1979-1996. Continued as Mercator’s World .

Mercator’s World (periodical)
“A bimonthly journal covering the exploration, discovery, and mapping of the world, including earth, sea, and space. Focuses on modern and historic achievements in cartography, geography, oceanography, cosmography, and astronomy, as well as adventure travel.” Available online 1999-2003.

Imago Mundi (periodical)
Imago Mundi is the only English-language scholarly periodical devoted exclusively to the history of pre-modern maps, mapping, and map-related ideas from anywhere in the world…All articles represent original research, are refereed, and are well illustrated (recent volumes have included color plates). Since 1977 each volume has contained a full complement of scholarly aids in the form of book reviews, bibliography, and chronicles .” Available online from multiple databases with dates ranging from 1997-current. Available in print 1935-2011.

Antique Map Price Record and Handbook (AMPR)
Available in print 1993-2000. No longer produced in print. Now available online from OldMaps.com . Limited information is available without a subscription. “Has approximately 200,000 pricing records from dealers and auction houses.”

Scanned Maps
American Mapmaking 1782-1800
“The years after the Revolutionary War saw the emergence of a distinctly American cartography, one that reflected the ambition and optimism characteristic of the young United States. In early 2011 the Harvard Map Collection featured this transitional period in “Toward a National Cartography: American Mapmaking, 1782-1800.” …This exhibit featured 22 rare maps, atlases and books from the collections of Harvard, the American Antiquarian Society, the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, and private lenders … AmericanMapmaking.com presents a virtual tour of this important exhibition.”

Historical Maps Online
View and download from a collection of scanned maps of Illinois and the upper Midwest from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Map and Geography Library, Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, and the Rare Book & Manuscripts Library.

1895 U.S. Atlas
“Originally printed and copyrighted in 1895 by the Rand McNally Corporation.”

Handsome Atlas
A view of 19th-century US statistical atlases through the lens of visualization.

Historic USGS Quadrangles
A project to scan and make available through the Web maps that were created using lithographic processes and distributed on paper by the US Geological Survey. According to the website, “Historical maps are available to the public at no cost in GeoPDF format from the USGS Store. These maps are georeferenced and can be used in conjunction with the new USGS digital topographic map, the US Topo.”

Historical Maps of the World
From the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

American Memory — Library of Congress
Entry point to collections of scanned maps from the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929
Part of the Library of Congress American Memory site. Scanned maps of cities in the U.S. and Canada. Can zoom in on the images to see quite a bit of detail. Most images are listed in Panormaic Maps of Cities in the United States and Canada, second edition (1984), by John R. Hébert and Patrick E. Dempsey

Historical Map and Chart Collection
Scans of charts in the Office of the Coast Survey’s Historical Collection. Includes Mississippi River survey 1868-1880. View on screen or download files.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
18th and 19th century cartographic items for the entire world with specific focus on North and South America. More than 21,000 images.

Dr. John Snow’s London, 1859
John Snow determined the source of a 1854 cholera outbreak in London by linking cases to a common source of drinking water — an early medical geographer.

Images of Early Maps on the Web
Extensive listing of sites of scans of old maps; primarily arranged geographically. Part of the “Map History” site.

Historic European City Maps
Scans of 15th through early 17th century maps; often multiple images for each city.

National Maritime Museum Charts and Maps
Charts from the collection at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England.

Ancient Maps of Jerusalem
Maps of Jerusalem dating between 1200 and 1930 from the collections of the Jewish National and University Library and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Old Maps Online
Launched in early 2012, Old Maps Online is the “world’s single largest online collection of historical maps … By the end of [2012] the site aims to have 60,000 maps available for public access. Cooperating institutions include the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Czech Republic’s Moravian Library and the San Francisco Bay Area’s David Rumsey Map Collection.”