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Cartographic Resources, Maps, and Spatial Data

Welcome, researchers!

Cartography: the art and science of graphically representing a geographical area, usually on a flat surface such as a map or chart. It may involve the superimposition of political, cultural, or other nongeographical divisions onto the representation of a geographical area. (Source: Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Cartography". Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 Jan. 2017,

Maps, remote sensing images, and spatial data record the locations of things and support many kinds of research.  This guide provides information related to cartography, maps, spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS).  Click on the tabs to the left to explore content available through the University of Delaware Library.

This 1906 Delaware-Maryland-New Jersey Dover Quadrangle, reprinted in 1915, is part of the Historical Map Collection in the Special Collections Department.

Federal Publications

FDLP logoThe University of Delaware Library has been Congressionally designated as a depository library in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) since June 30, 1897. The Library was also a depository for the U.S. Geological Survey Depository Program until it merged with the FDLP. These programs ensure that the American public is informed about the activities of the government by distributing materials published by the federal government to institutions free of charge. In return those institutions promise to house materials and provide the staff necessary for the students, faculty, and general public to use these materials. Under these programs, the Library received Geological Survey topographical maps in the 15 minute and the 7.5 minute series. These series divide the country into units sized in 15 and 7.5 minutes of longitude and latitude and show topography and structures. (A minute is 1/60th of a degree of longitude or latitude.)

Located on the Lower Level of the Hugh M. Morris Library, the Maps Collection is the largest federal depository map collection in the State of Delaware. The Library's Maps Collection includes printed topographic maps for the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The topographic quadrangles are cataloged by state and filed in the drawers alphabetically by state and quadrangle name. Maps may be found by consulting the Library catalog DELCAT. The federal government also produces nautical charts to support commerce, and an enormous number maps on diverse topics ranging from agricultural climate zones to flood insurance maps, to weather maps. Many of these are available online and can be found through the Library catalog DELCAT (Tip: filter the search results by using the Resource Type "Maps").

For assistance in locating the physical maps, please stop by the Student Multimedia Design Center desk.

Professional Organizations Concerned with Maps