Where do I find maps?

Where do I find maps?

All maps, atlases and digital map data held by the University of Queensland Library are listed in the catalogue. Maps are available in several formats including:

  • Printed sheets or atlases
  • Digital data either on electronic databases or via the Internet

You will find maps in the

  • Dorothy Hill Engineering and  Sciences Library
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Library
  • Architecture and Music Library
  • Fryer Library
  • Gatton Library

What does the map scale mean?

What does the map scale mean?

Maps are available in different scales. The scale on a map is the relationship between the distance on the map and the distance on the ground. This relationship is usually expressed as a fraction e.g. 1/10 000 or a ratio e.g.1:10 000. This fraction or ratio indicates 1 unit on the map represents 10 000 of the same unit on the ground.

The unit of measurement may be centimetres or inches. The first number in the scale is always 1, but the second number is different for each scale.

Some of the commonly used scales are:

  • 1:63 360 - which is 1 inch to 1 mile
  • 1:250 000 - which is 1 centimetre to 2.5 kilometre
  • 1:10 000 - which is 1 centimetre to 1 kilometre

Which scale is best?

Which scale is best?

When deciding on which scale is best for your needs, remember, “bigger is smaller.” The bigger the second number the smaller the scale of the map. More ground is represented on the map, and therefore there is less detail on the map. Conversely, the smaller the second number, the bigger the scale, and more detail can be included on the map. 

Many areas have been mapped at different scales so you can select the map scale most appropriate to your needs.

How do I find a map or atlas in the Library Catalogue?

How do I find a map or atlas in the Library Catalogue?

To find a map on a particular subject or area use the following search option on the catalogue:

  • Use the Keyword search option
  • Include the word maps in your search
    • e.g. geolog* maps Australia

To find a map on a particular subject or area and limited to a particular time of publication use the following search options:

  • Use the Keyword search option
  • Type your search words e.g. Australia discovery maps
  • An ‘and’ operator is automatically inserted between your search terms
  • Select MapsModifySearch.png to refine your search
  • In Year fill in the after date or the before date
    • eg After 1750 or Before 1850
  • Click on Submit to apply the modifications

To find a map with a particular scale use the following search options:

  • Use the Keyword search option
  • Include the scale in the search option
    • e.g. geolog* Australia maps 1 000 000

What if I still can't find the map I want?

What if I still can't find the map I want?

Library Catalogue

Many maps belong to large national or international sets consisting of many sheets. To find these on the library catalogue you need to make your search geographically broad.

For example use

  • Brisbane rather than Toowong
  • Queensland rather than North Queensland
  • Australia rather than Queensland

Most map sets have an index sheet, which accompanies the maps. This index sheet will help you to locate individual maps.

Maps may accompany books and journals. Large maps are often folded and kept in a pocket within books and journals. The library catalogue record will include the note:

  • Maps in back pocket - to describe maps with books
  • Maps accompany some issues - to describe maps shelved with periodicals
  • If searching for an Australian topographic map try a place name search to locate the individual map sheet number.


Maps can be located using printed or electronic indexes. Choose a database which covers your topic, for example try Georef for information in geology and the geosciences:

  • Check if the database allows searching/limiting by format
  • Use map or maps as a search term
  • Check the library catalogue to see if the library holds maps located as a result of database searches
  • Ask the Librarian at the Information Desk for assistance.

Where in the world is…..?

Where in the world is…..?

If you have the name of a city, river, or mountain and want to know where it is situated you need to use a gazetteer. A gazetteer is a list of names of places and features with their locations. To find a gazetteer on the library catalogue:

  • Use a Keyword search
  • Use gazetteer* as a word

Try these:

Internet resources

Digital data

Digital data

There are a number of specialised packages of digital map data. Some of these packages enable you to create your own maps.

Australian Census data on CD-ROM

  • CDATA 91 - SS&H Ref HA3005 .C4 1995
  • CDATA 96 - SS&H Ref HA3005 .C42 1997

Australian topographic maps on CD-ROM

  • Geodata Raster 250K –1996 - DHESL G8960.S250.1996.G4 1996
  • Geodata:raster 250K geodata – 2000 - DHESL G8960.S250.2000.G4 2000

Maps 'n' facts: the comprehensive world atlas for the entire family - SS&H Quarto G1021 .M38 1994

Australia unfolded: interactive atlas of Australia - DHESL G2750.A97 1999

Maps file : every foldout map from National Geographic magazine on CD-ROM - SS&H G1021 .M38 1999

How do I cite maps?

How do I cite maps?

Maps included in assignments and reports need to be cited, just as you would cite any other source of information.
The maps you are using may be found in print sources such as atlases, books or periodicals, or in sheet format; or they may be an electronic image you found on the web or one created using GIS software.
The source and format will dictate which elements to use in your citation, these elements include, but are not limited to the map title, author, publisher, place of publication, scale, URL (address of website) and date of publication, retrieval or creation.  For the correct method of citing you will need to consult the relevant referencing style guide for your assignment or course.
See our Referencing style guides pages for examples of how to cite maps or you can do a web search such as citing maps to find various examples of citing maps in various styles. The style guides created by universities are a good source of information.
It’s important to keep in mind that the key to citing correctly is consistency and always check with your lecturer if you have any questions.