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Maps: Overview

The Map Collection at Perkins Library and sources for online maps and related information.

Citing Maps


Some atlases are located in the Map Collection, in the Map Colelction Reference bookshelf area, but most are in the Perkins Library Research and Instructional Services Department on the first floor of the library or in the Perkins/Bostock Library stacks.  Atlases are searchable using the library's catalog.

GIS & Electronic Maps

Our computer resources include the GIS (Geographic Information System) program ArcGIS as well as some spatial data to use with it.  Additional spatial data may be found online form the Data & GIS Services Department and on CD-ROMs in the federal depository collection.

Perkins Library Map Collection

Durham County Soil SurveyThe Map Collection contains over 125,000 paper maps with local, state, national, and international coverage, including topographic maps, topical maps, navigation charts, road and street maps, page-sized reference maps, and selected early 20th century maps.

  • The collection of paper maps is in Bostock Lower Level 1 (Bostock L1).
  • The Map Collection Reference books are in bookshelves adjacent to the map collection on Bostock L1, near the periodicals and microform indexes.
  • Staff in the Data & Visualization Services Department provide complementary materials and services, including electronic mapping.

The collection receives or has received maps through several depository programs-- from the U.S. and the Canadian governments, the European Union, and North Carolina--and purchases other titles or receives them as gifts.  Special strengths of the collection include maps of South Asia and US military maps from World War II.  A collection development policy provides loose guidelines for building and managing the collection.  The following list gives a sample of our holdings.

  • Topographic maps at several scales, including U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) quadrangle maps covering the United States and Canadian topographic maps covering most of Canada.
  • Geological maps, including USGS folded geologic map series and some maps from U.S. state geological surveys.
  • Topographic and thematic maps dating from the Second World War, primarily representing areas occupied by Germany and Japan.
  • Nautical charts (primarily foreign coastlines) and aeronautical charts.
  • Page-sized maps useful for illustrating reports; large maps for class presentations.
  • Road maps of all U.S. states and most other countries.
  • Street maps of many U.S. and international cities.
  • Tourist information.
  • Trail maps of National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands.
  • Indexes to maps and reference books about maps.
  • Electronic maps, atlases, and trip planners.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software (e.g., ArcGIS) and GIS data.
  • Gazetteers, both national and international, in paper, microfiche, and CD-ROM. (See also our guide to online gazetteers.)

Subject Guide

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Mark Thomas
233C Perkins Library