Resources related to finding information resources for maps and cartography

OSUL Map Collections

The OSU Libraries map collections contain about 300,000 map sheets. Of these, about 70% are included in the Library catalog. The rest of the maps are available but can only be found by asking for assistance or browsing.

There are two major map collections:

The Gardner Family Map Room in Thompson Library contains primarily thematic maps (political/historical), atlases, and international topographic maps.

The Geology Library map collection in the Orton Memorial Library of Geology in Orton Hall contains geology-related maps and the USGS topographic maps for the United States.

Also, there are smaller, specialized map collections in other libraries in the OSUL system.

Map Types

Physical maps display the natural features of the Earth -- the location and names of rivers, valleys, oceans, continents, islands and volcanoes, etc.

Physical maps are the basis for theme maps, and most common maps are a combination of physical and political.

More than half of the sheets in the collections are topographic maps, usually produced by government agencies. They depict relief features, place names, transportation infrastructure, and settlement patterns -- even individual houses are included on many series. For the scholar, topographic maps furnish an extraordinary record of both the built and the natural environment. The Collections' holdings cover the entire world but at different scales for different periods and places. Topographic maps for the United States and its territories and Antarctica are in the Geology Library. Topographic maps for the rest of the world are in the Gardner Family Map Room.


Nautical Charts are specifically for water travel.

United States Coastal Charts are available from NOAA's Office of Coast Survey. Each chart is updated with current Notices to Mariners.

The Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day. It includes some of the nation's earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans, and Civil War battle maps.

Canadian Nautical Charts can be found here at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

NOAA is discontinuing paper versions of Nautical Charts by 2025.  Please read about the process here.

Paper charts go out of date quickly and can NOT be used for current navigation. The Library of Congress & the American Geographical Society Library  have complete sets of published print charts {U.S & many International}. OSUL has a limited number of nautical charts. Please ask for assistance to see them.

Learn more about Nautical Charts and how they differ from Maps.

Maps focusing on the distribution of features of a particular sort are generally known as thematic maps. The collections hold thematic maps of all types. The Geology Library collection is a depository for GeoScience thematic maps published by the United States Geological Survey and the major geological surveys of Canada and other countries. Individual U.S. State geological surveys are also available. Other thematic maps such as battles, endangered species, history, transportation, etc., are in the Gardner Family Map Room.

Historical maps are a special type of theme map showing a specific time and area. War maps from WWII, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and the Carta Marina are some examples of historical maps.

Selected Ohio Historical Maps:

Archeological Atlas of Ohio

The first map and description of Ohio, 1787

Historic Transportation Maps

The Mapping of Ohio

Historical International Maps:


There is an increasing number of Digital maps as collections worldwide are scanned. Maps of all types can be digital.

Library of Congress ---

  American Revolution and Its Era:  Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789

  Cities and Towns

  Civil War Maps

  Discovery and Exploration

  Finding Our Place in the Cosmos:  From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond

  General Maps

  Hotchkiss Map Collection

  Los Angeles Mapped

  Louisiana:  European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase

  Mapping a New Nation:  Abel Buell's Map of the United States, 1784

  Mapping a Growing Nation:  From Independence to Statehood

  Mapping the National Parks

  Maps in our Lives

  Maps of Liberia:  1830 - 1870

  Military Battles and Campaigns

  Panoramic Maps

  Railroad Maps:  1828 - 1900

  Rochambeau Map Collection

  Sanborn Maps

  Transportation and Communication

  World War II Military Situation Maps

Popout Maps in Map Room


Maps Info Associate

Geology Library Supervisor

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Patti Dittoe
(She, her, hers)
180B Orton Hall,
155 S. Oval Mall
(614) 292-6549