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Physical & Digital Collections

Cartographic resources: University Library

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


The Map Department of Cambridge University Library is home to the majority of Cambridge University Libraries cartographic resources. The items range from early printed and manuscript maps through to modern resources including Ordnance Survey digital map data. There are over 1.3 million maps and over 40,000 atlases and books on cartography - a lot to choose from!

Within Cambridge University Library smaller collections of maps and atlases can be found in other University Library departments such as: Rare Books; Archives, Modern and Medieval Manuscripts and University Archives; and the East Asian Collections, especially the Chinese Collections.

Where is the Map Department?

The Map Department collections are consulted in the Map Room of Cambridge University Library. The Map Room can be  found at the end of the North Gallery on the first floor (up the stairs from the Entrance Hall and turn right). If you do not have a valid Readers Card you should contact Reader Registration.

Making the most of your visit

If you are planning to visit us, and particularly if you have limited time, we recommend contacting us in advance to ensure the items you wish to see are available (email, with details plus - if you already have a reader's card - your five-character reader's code, e.g. VA123).

More information on using the Map Room.


Click the picture to see a short video, on Instagram, showing the Map Room and some of its collections

Video Cambridge University Library Map Room

Map Department collections

Cambridge University Library Map Department has over 1.3 million maps of all parts of the world dating from the 15th century to the present.  There are also atlases, views, gazetteers and books on cartography. New items (both old and new) are constantly added to the collection.

Maps are covered by legal deposit so Cambridge University Library should receive a copy of everything published in Great Britain, though things do fall through the net!

Only a small proportion of CUL Map Department's collection is catalogued online so you need to check iDiscover (the Library’s online catalogue), ArchiveSearch (the University’s archive catalogue ; it replaced Janus in early 2021), and the Map Department’s card catalogue to find out what items they have. For more information see the Finding Maps page of this LibGuide and the Map Department web pages

Collections showcase

Opening times

Please note that the Map Room is open more restricted hours that the rest of the Library, is closed between 12:45pm and 2pm Monday to Friday, and is not open on Saturdays (or Sundays). However, for Saturday or evening work items can (if given suitable notice) be transferred to the Rare Books Reading Room.



Sorry but no maps or atlases can be borrowed.

Making copies

You are welcome to bring a camera to photograph - subject to condition of the item and copyright - the items you are working on.

The Library also has a Digital Content Unit who can make copies for you, subject to copyright and condition restrictions.

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