Finding Maps in Hillman Library and on the Web
The Map Collection is located on the ground floor of Hillman Library and the maps are in the wood covered map cases and some black metal cases. You can ask at the Information/Reference Desk for location information or consult the floor plan of the ground floor.
The map cases have signs designating each section and each drawer is labeled.
The Map Collection consists of three main areas:
1.) General Map Collection
These maps are shelved in LC call number order. Most of them have "G" call numbers.
2.) United States Geological Survey (USGS) Topographic Maps
The USGS topographic maps are shelved first by scale, smaller to larger (1:1,000,000 to 1:24,000). Within each scale, maps are shelved alphabetically by quadrangle name. In the case of the 1:24,000 scale (7.5 minute) maps, these are shelved alphabetically by state, and then alphabetically by quadrangle name.
3.) Depository Maps and Folios
These are maps published by various agencies of the U.S. government. A small number of maps are received through the U.N. depository program. The U.S. maps are located in the wooden map cases and in the black metal cases and are shelved by SuDocs number. The folios are shelved after the U.S. maps. The U.N. maps are shelved by U.N. call number in the drawers preceeding the U.S. maps. Note: many of the geologic maps received with USGS reports are kept in the Government Publications Collection.
Searching for Maps using PITTCat Classic
1.) PITTCat Library Catalog
All maps in our collection published since 1996 and many older maps are listed in PITTCat. (However, more than half of our older maps are not cataloged.)
To find maps in PITTCat, you can do a Keyword search, entering information about the location that interests you and the keyword "map?". In addition to finding maps in the Map Collection, this will also give you a list of relevant travel books, atlases, and other books with maps in them.
To limit your search to flat maps only (excluding maps in books), at the bottom of the Keyword search screen click on the "Narrow My Search" button. Then, go to the Item Type box and select Map from the list and click on the Set Search Limits button.
Another alternative is to limit your search to Hillman Library Map Collection by using the Location section on the Search Limits page of PITTCat.
If you can’t find the map you need in PITTCat, you can ask a librarian for help.
You can also try the map card catalog which is located next to the map cases on the ground floor of Hillman Library. Most of the maps in the map card catalog are from the 1980’s and earlier.
2.) GeoRef (Pitt users only)
The GeoRef database can be used to locate geological maps on a particular topic or for a location. GeoRef covers the geology of North America from 1785 to the present and the geology of the rest of the world from 1933 to the present. When searching, select map as Publication Type on the Advanced Search page. Note: Many of the maps listed in GeoRef are not in our collection.
3.) Britannica Online (Pitt users only) Select World Atlas for maps of the world, continents, and countries. http://www.library.pitt.edu/articles/database_info/britannica.html
4.) Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) (Pitt users only) Select maps/country data, then the world region or country for which you want a map.
5.) CountryWatch (Pitt users only) Includes thematic and physical/political maps of countries and the world.
Maps of Pittsburgh and the United States
Road maps for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the United States are kept in the front of the map drawer and with the atlases at the Hillman Reference Desk. Additional road maps are in the General Map Collection.
Websites for road maps and driving directions:
Maps On Us
We collect topographic maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for the entire United States. Topographic maps depict the physical and cultural detail of a geographic area. For most of the U.S., the most detailed topographic maps we have are 7.5' ("7 1/2 minute") maps with a scale of 1:24,000. Many of these maps are listed in PITTCat.
Topgraphic maps of the city of Pittsburgh are kept in the map cases in the Government Publications office. You can ask for these at the Hillman Library Information/Reference Desk.
How do you know which map you need?
The name of the place or landmark you are looking for is not always the same name as the quadrangle/map.
To verify a quadrangle name, you can:
Find the quad name by searching the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). GNIS is more up-to-date than the library's paper indexes.
Use the print indexes located in the map drawer at the Hillman Information/Reference Desk. The paper indexes are useful as an "index on a map format" for locating quad names (you look for the quadrangle on the map rather than typing in a place name or feature name).
Web versions of topographic maps can be found using:
The National Map (USGS), the nation's topographic map for the 21st century. Provides interactive mapping, get elevation information and you can download coverages to use with GIS software.
Microsoft's Terraserver provides free public access to maps and aerial photographs of the United States.
Topozone Provides interactive topographc mapping and aerial photographs.
For purchasing topographic maps use:
USGS Store When using the USGS Store, select "Enter the USGS Store," then click on the Map Locator, or enter the name of the city under Product Name. This is useful if you want to purchase a map.
Census maps are especially useful for locating census tracts, block groups and blocks for which census data is available.
Thematic and reference census maps for 1990 and 2000 are available from:
Census Bureau's map products page in PDF format.
For 2000 maps, select Maps then Thematic Maps(data) or Reference Maps (boundaries).
For 1990 maps, select Data Sets, then Decennial Census, the click on the 1990 Census tab then Summary Tape File 1 (general characteristics) or Summary Tape File 3 (detailed characteristics). You will see a pop-up box that gives you the option to select either Thematic Maps or Reference Maps.
Paper versions of census maps for the city of Pittsburgh for the 1990 and 2000 censuses are in kept in the map cases in the Government Publications office.
1990 and earlier Pittsburgh metropolitan area census maps are shelved with depository maps under the call number C 3.223: in the Hillman Map Collection.
Census maps for other areas are available in paper or microfiche as follows:
Maps for 1990:
Government Publications Collection:C 3.223/11
Microfiche in Microforms under the number ASI 2551-10 (1994)
Maps for 1980:
Government Publications Collection: C 3.223/11
Microfiche in Microforms under the number ASI 2551-2 (1984)
Maps for 1970:
Government Publications Collection: C3.224-:
We have many historical maps of the Pittsburgh area and other locations in the Hillman map collection and in the ULS Archive Service Center. (Among their holdings, the Archives Service Center has many old fire insurance maps of this area published by the Sanborn Company.) http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/archives/archives.html
Most of these maps can be found by searching PITTCat. Some historical maps in the Hillman Map Collection can only be found by searching the map card catalog located next to the map cases on the ground floor of Hillman Library.
For access to digital versions of historic maps of the Pittsburgh area, visit Historic Pittsburgh Maps Collection. Many of our historical maps have been digitized and added to this online collection.
Aerial Photographs and Satellite Images
We have a few aerial photographs and satellite images in the Hillman Library map collection. To find these in PITTCat, go to the Keyword screen and enter either aerial photograph? or satellite imag? and select "as a phrase" from the drop down box.
If you click on the following links, the search will be automatically run for you: aerial photograph? or satellite imag?.
More aerial photographs and satellite images can be located on the Web by searching:
The National Map (USGS)
Basic Maps and Atlases
Again, for these maps search PITTCat and the map card catalog located next to the map cases on the ground floor of Hillman Library.
At the Hillman Reference Desk we keep many current atlases of the world. Older and more specialized atlases can be found in the Hillman Refreence Collection and shelved with the ovesized books on the fourth floor of Hillman. All of these are listed in PITTCat.
We keep a collection of small maps published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in binders in the Government Publications section behind the Hillman Reference Desk . These maps are shelved under the call number PrEx3.10/4: (Larger CIA maps are shelved under PrEx3.10/4: in the U.S. Depository map collection in the map cases on the ground floor of Hillman).
Useful databases and Websites for international maps include:
- Britannica Online (Pitt users only)
- CIA Maps and Publications
- CIA World Factbook
- Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) (Pitt users only)
- CountryWatch (Pitt users only)
- National Geographic: Maps and Geography
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
Detailed Maps of Other Countries
Some of the most detailed maps we have in our collection are maps published by the Army Map Service (AMS) and Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). The agency is now named the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Indexes for these maps are shelved with the atlases at the Hillman Reference Desk. Our paper indexes also include an inventory of what the library has. The AMS index maps are also available on the Web: Army Map Service Index Maps.
We have a collection of Canadian topographic maps which are shelved in the Hillman map collection just before the U.S. topographic maps. A print index for these maps is kept with the atlases at the Hillman reference desk. A Web index, Topographic Map Search, is provided by Canada's Centre for Topographic Information. The Centre for Topographic Information also makes topographic maps available on the web through Toporama. http://maps.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php
Maps on the Web and Interactive Web Mapping
Using the National Atlas Map Maker, you can assemble, view, and print your own maps. Available map layers include: Agriculture, Viology, Boundaries, Climate, Environment, Geology, History, Map Reference, People, Transportation, and Water.
On National Geographic's Maps and Geography page, you can search online maps (in National Geographic's Map Machine Atlas by city, country, region, continent, or U.S. zip code).
The National Map of the USGS allows you to find elevations, and distances between points within the U.S., and to constrcut maps with the following layer options: Administrative, Boundaries, Elevation, Geographic Names, Geology, Hydrography, Imagery, Land Use/Land Cover, Natural Hazards/Weather, Structures, Topographic Maps, and Transportation.
The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection web site provides access to maps of the U.S. and world.
- Mark C. Scott firstname.lastname@example.org 412-383-5097
- Tom Twiss, email@example.com, 412-648-7730.
- Patricia Sharp, firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-648-7803
- Hillman Library Information/Reference Desk, 412-648-3330