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Physical & Digital Collections

Cartographic resources: Other Map Collections (& Aerial Photos)

Describes the collection of Cambridge University Library's Map Department, give tips on finding maps, etc., and points to other resources, including the Map Department web pages


Although the map collection of Cambridge University Library is the largest in the University - and is a major, and world-class, resource - there are significant map collections elsewhere in Cambridge and, of course, further afield. Some of these are listed below.

Other major map collections in Cambridge

University (and associated organisations)

British Antarctic Survey

Department of Geography

Earth Sciences

Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI)


Cambridgeshire Collection. Located on the 3rd floor of the Public Library in Lion Yard. A strong local collection. Includes maps, plans, photographs and other Cambridgeshire material.  

Cambridgeshire Archives. In Ely. Official/government mapping, a good range of Ordnance Survey maps plus excellent collection of manuscript items of Cambridgeshire. 

Further Information on these and other map libraries

Map Department Information Sheet 2A - Map Collections in Cambridge (pdf document ; opens in new window)

See also

Cambridge University Library Map Department's 'local interest' web page 

Cambridge University Libraries Directory for details of all Cambridge University libraries and archives

Cambridge College Libraries LibGuide


Aerial photograph collections

Aerial Digimap but this is only available to staff and students of the University (further information).

Britain from Above run jointly by Historic England, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Historic Environment Scotland

Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP). An important collection of aerial photographs taken since 1945, mostly covering Britain but also including Ireland and some other European countries. Catalogue is available online. Access to the collection is not currently possible, however, some photographs can be viewed in the Landscape Histories from the Air collection on Cambridge Digital Library (CUDL) but it is easier to find relevant photographs if you first search the CUCAP online catalogue where a pale dot in the centre of the marker pin indicates that there is a thumb nail image, some of which will also be viewable in CUDL

Air Photo Mosaics published by Ordnance Survey (OS) between 1944 and 1950 covering parts of Great Britain. CUL has paper copies of many of these photographs and you may be interested in this blog post on the photographs. The OS Air Photo Mosaics covering Scotland are available on the National Library of Scotland's website

Historic England. The public archive of Historic England providing information on the archaeology and architecture of England. Includes aerial photographs (including USAAF reconnaissance photography during the Second World War), photographsplans, drawings and documents

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

Alternative sources of photos might be locatable in NAPLIB directory of aerial photographic collections in the United Kingdom, 2nd ed. 1999. [L695.b.1 plus copy at Map Room enquiry desk].

For aerial photographs of rural America's history see Vintage Aerial 

Also see Australia's Historical Aerial Photography (HAP) website

Map collections outside Cambridge


Bodleian Library Oxford [a Legal Deposit Library]

British Library London, the largest publicly accessible map collection in the UK  [a Legal Deposit Library]

National Library of Scotland Edinburgh, excellent selection of map images online  [a Legal Deposit Library]

National Library of Wales Aberystwyth  [a Legal Deposit Library]

National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London

Royal Geographical Society London

The National Archives London

University of Manchester Library's Map Collection

University of Reading Map Collection

Outside the UK

A few major libraries are:

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France

Library of Congress Geography & Map Reading Room, Washington, DC, USA

Trinity College Library Dublin, Ireland  [a Legal Deposit Library]

Further Information on these and other map libraries

Map Department Information Sheet 2B - Map Collections Outside Cambridge (pdf document ; opens in new window)

Cambridge University Library Map Department's collections and catalogues web page 

Directories of Map Collections

Directory of UK Map Collections. Web based directory maintained by the Map Curators' Group of the British Cartographic Society

World directory of map collections (printed version). (4th ed.)  Compiled and edited by Oliver Loiseaux on behalf of the Section of Geography and Map Libraries.  IFLA Publications 92/93. 2000.  This is a little out of date now but can be useful. Online access is available

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