Getting Started
Indexes & Databases

Nat'l Forests & Parks
Navigation Charts
North Carolina
World Maps
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Historical Maps & Data
Interactive Mapping Sites
Citing Maps
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Maps and Atlases

Getting Started

NCSU Libraries' Maps Collection covers the following broad areas:

  • Library of Congress (LC) classification number. Maps shelved by LC call numbers include all geographic regions
  • Superintendent of Documents (sudoc) classification number. Maps with sudoc call numbers include all geographic regions
  • Topographic maps.  The library owns 1:24,000 maps for North Carolina and surrounding states, as well as some smaller scale topographic maps covering regions of the United States.
  • North Carolina maps.  These include transportation maps, census tract maps, historic topographic maps, and more.  See instructions at the map case for arrangement.
  • NOAA nautical charts covering coastal areas of the United States, and small craft nautical charts.
  • World maps produced by the Defence Mapping Agency (DMA), National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), and the newly created National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
  • World maps produced by the National Geographic Society.
  • Small format world maps produced by the CIA.
  • Thematic maps of the USGS from investigations series including coal, minerals, water, and more.

For maps not shelved by classification number (LC or sudoc) you may need to consult instructions at the map case location for shelving arrangements.  In some cases, there is an "index map" in the first drawer for a series, providing the shelving arrangement. In other cases the maps are filed alphabetically, or by a report number that must be obtained from a published index.

Some maps acquired before 1998 may not be listed in the library's online catalog, so if you do not find what you need, ask a librarian for help.  Some maps, especially some produced by government agencies, may be shelved in the U.S. Documents stacks rather than in the Maps Collection.

Using the library catalog

A good way to get started is to try a keyword search using place names and limit your search by format to "maps."  Remember: not all maps acquired before 1998 are listed in the library's catalog, so ask at the Reference Desk if you need help.

Using indexes and databases

There are many indexes and databases available to help you identify published maps.  In some cases, these indexes provide report numbers that are used to shelve the maps.  When you have consulted these general indexes or databases, you may need to ask a librarian to help you determine if the library owns the map you are looking for.

Using atlases

Finding maps in atlases is an option if the library does not own an individual map for the area you need.


Maps are circulating items, except for topographic maps of North Carolina. If you need to borrow an NC topo map, contact the Maps Librarian listed below. Any other map must first be retrieved from Satellite Shelving.


For more information, use Ask Us or contact:

Jeff Essic
Data Services Librarian
(919) 515-5698