Maps and Atlases

The Map Collection currently holds over 223,000 paper maps including topographic, thematic, geology and soil maps as well as hydrographic charts. Maps in the collection are issued by Canadian and foreign governments, organizations and publishers.

We also have a large collection of over 2550 world, regional, national, provincial/state and thematic atlases. The atlas collection covers a wide range of subjects including geology, hydrography, socio-economic factors, culture, health, historical events, transportation, recreation, etc. To find a particular map or atlas, try searching the Library Catalogue.

Topographic Maps

Topographic maps describe prominent physical and cultural features in a place or region. More specifically, topographic maps typically include elevation and shape of the land described by contours, and include symbols for roads, railways, political boundaries, water features, etc. Each set held at the Map Collection has an index to indicate availability.

Canada Topographic Maps

The most used Canadian topographic maps in the collection are the National Topographic System (NTS), 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scale sets. The Map Collection was a full depository for these sets, meaning all current edition paper NTS maps at these scales are available. The Map Collection also holds many previous 1:50,000 editions (primarily Ontario) in the historical "Time Series" room.

As of April 2007, digital scanned copies of current 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 NTS sheets are available for free public download (known as the CanMatrix product) via Geogratis. Both sets are also available as vector geospatial (Geographic Information Systems) data layers through the National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) via Geogratis.

Other print maps available are the discontinued Canadian Topographic Series Maps at the scales of 1:25,000, 1:125,000, and 1:126,700, 1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000 (International Map of the World). Coverage varies by set. Please consult the paper indexes filed with each at the Map Collection for specific details.

The Map Collection also holds historical "Time Series" archival Canadian topographic maps for specialized research purposes. The following links provide lists of specific maps held for each historical set.

Ontario Topographic Maps

The Ontario Base Map (OBM) series provides general topographic coverage of Ontario at 1:10,000 (Southern Ontario) and 1:20,000 (Northern Ontario). The Map Collection holds paper copies or microfiche for most of Southern Ontario. Current OBM digital maps can be viewed at OCUL Scholars GeoPortal.

City of London Topographic Maps

The Map Collection holds multiple topographic sets for the City of London at a variety of scales. Included in the collection are the 1:2500 (2001), 1:2000 (multiple revisions between 1961 and 1994) and 1:1000 Geodetic (1926 and 1957 revision) sets.

United States Topographic Maps

The Map Collection has an extensive collection of United States topographic maps. This includes full coverage at the scale of 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 which can be viewed digitally at the USGS or in print by request. We also have full coverage in print at 1:250,000 and 1:1,000,000 (International Map of the World).

World Topographic Maps

The Map Collection has a large collection of international topographic maps at a variety of scales. All sets are indexed and filed with each respective country or region. Please search the Library Catalogue for specific coverage.

Thematic Maps

These index maps from Geology Ontario represent their entire inventory. Any words that are highlighted in green or yellow are what we hold at the Map Collection. Online Ontario Geology publications and maps are also available.

Please note: Index to Maps courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. © Queen's Printer for Ontario. Reproduced with permission.

Hydrographic Charts

Hydrographic or "Nautical" charts are representations of maritime and coastal regions. Nautical charts portray water depth, hazards, aids to navigation, features along the shoreline and the seafloor, as well as man-made and natural features of the area. These maps are produced at a variety of scales.

The Map Collection was a full depository for all Nautical charts produced by the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS). This means that the Map Collection received all newly produced CHS paper maps. Please note that these charts are not current and should not be used for navigational purposes. To explore all features shown on Canadian Nautical charts, please see the Canadian Hydrographic Service website. Canadian Nautical charts can be found in cabinets 38 and 39 in the Map and Data Centre.

There is also an archival series of hydrographic charts for the Great Lakes area. 

Electronic Maps and Atlases

The Map Collection has a number of digital atlases and maps on CD/DVD-ROMs available for use within the library. Patrons may request the use of these electronic resources at the reference desk and may use an available workstation to browse the software. For Geospatial (Geographic Information Systems) data available please see the Geospatial Data page.

Online Resources

The Map Collection staff have deemed the following cartographic, and other links as particularly useful or interesting.