Physical Collection

The Map Collection contains more than 270,000 sheet maps, including maps issued by city, county, state and national governments, international organizations, and a variety of commercial publishers. The collection is international in scope.  Subject coverage is broad and now includes all geological maps transferred from the Geoscience Library, which closed in Spring 2010.

Rare maps include copies of pre-1900 maps of Iowa, as well as Iowa fire insurance maps for more than 1,000 Iowa cities from the 1870s through the 1930s, either on paper or microfiche. The collection also holds German and Japanese topographic maps captured during World War II.

Many holdings are available in UI’s InfoHawk Catalog —use the “Advanced Search” option and search for “Format—Map” and “Location—Map Collection.” However, records for many older sheet maps in the collection are still not accessible in the on-line catalog.  Please contact Map Collection staff for assistance.


The Map Collection, in cooperation with other area libraries, has digitized a selection of historical Iowa sheet maps from the collection. These can be found in the Iowa Digital Library’s Iowa Maps Digital Collection.

Digitized sheet maps from other libraries, both historical and current, can be found in an enormously wide variety of locations. An updated LibGuide is under construction, but our Cartographic Information on the Web page remains up in the meantime.