Perry-Castañeda Library
Map Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I view these maps?
  • How do I print these maps?
  • Are the maps copyrighted?
  • About these Images
  • Where are the rest of your maps?
  • Why are some of your maps so old?
  • Where can I buy these maps?
  • Where can I find a map of ... on the Internet?

  • How do I view these maps?
    An image viewer that can decode JPEG and GIF images is needed to display these maps. Most of the images are JPEG images within the 200K to 300K range; however, some of the images are quite large.

    Many users can have problems with the larger images. This is a result of not having enough memory to view the image; make sure that your web browser is given enough memory. If you still encounter problems viewing these images, we recommend downloading the image and using an external image viewer instead of the built-in image viewer supplied with your web browser.

    If you cannot afford a commercial imaging package, we have several shareware suggestions. For Windows, we recommend Graphic Converter or Lview. For the Macintosh, we recommend GraphicConverter. On UNIX workstations, try xv. Each of these will allow you to scale our large maps down to single-page size when printing.

    If you use commercial imaging packages, our recommendation is Photoshop, which we use in optimizing the maps.

    Whatever package you use, make sure to give your viewer enough memory to display the image.

    Your web browser must be properly configured to use the image viewer. Please read the documentation for the particular browser you are using to find out how it handles "helper applications".

  • How do I print these maps?
    For large JPEG and GIF map images, the map must be resized to print the entire image (see below). Even after resizing, the quality and legibility of the printed map is dependent upon the quality of your printer.

    For quickly printing the less detailed maps, you can save the map image file to your hard drive, and then open Microsoft Word. Select Insert from the menu bar, then Picture/File. This will print an entire map image but place names on detailed maps will not be large enough to be legible using this method. Also try reducing the scale at which a page is printed.

    If you're using L View for Windows, you need to scale the map. Once it's visible in the window, choose Edit/resize from the menu bar. Click the Fit to desktop option, and choose Print from the File menu. Press the Options button and set the paper to Landscape view. Printing now should print your map within the size of a single page. If your map is still clipped, go to Edit/resize once again; this time, choose 640 x 480. This should print your map well within the size of a single page. L View Pro is not free software, but an evaluation copy may be downloaded from their web site.

    If you're using GraphicConverter for Macintosh, simply select Print from the menu bar; in its options, select the radio button labelled: Enlarge/reduce are to fit page. This will alter the map size to allow you to print it in its entirety.

    Map images in PDF format (requires free Adobe Acrobat software) will print well on most printers. The CIA has only issued maps of the world continents in this format. We make all of those available on our site.

    For each country we have a small GIF image which will print well on many printers. The images are noted as "Small Map" on our pages.

  • Are the maps copyrighted?
    Most of the maps scanned by the University of Texas Libraries and served from this web site are in the public domain. No permissions are needed to copy them. You may download them and use them as you wish. We appreciate credit to "University of Texas Libraries" as the source of the scanned images.
    A few maps are copyrighted, and are clearly marked as such. Any that are copyrighted by The University of Texas are subject to our Materials Usage Guidelines. The U.S. Government may claim copyright outside of the U.S. for maps such as nautical and aeronautical charts. We recommend that those wanting to republish these maps outside the U.S. should contact their publishers.
    A few maps include the official seal of a U.S. Government agency. Federal law prohibits use of these seals in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the agency.
    We do appreciate hearing from you about your uses of these materials and we would also appreciate your giving this site credit when it is referred to in anything you publish. Other sites may link to our site or to individual maps without our permission.
    Other map-related web sites we link to are frequently protected by copyright. Contact them for information about their usage policies.

    Please Note: Maps on other web sites which we link to are subject to the copyright restrictions of those sites. Please contact them for their copyright information. If you are uncertain whether a particular map is on our site or another site look at the url. If, when viewing the map, it begins with "" then it is on our server.

  • Where are the rest of your maps?
    Only part of our printed map collection has been scanned and made available on the Web. Currently this amounts to 70,000 map images compared to the 250,000 maps in our printed collection. Because we have very limited staff, we are unable to scan in maps for individual users' requests. However, we would like to know what maps you are interested in seeing on our site, and will take this into account as we have time to scan in additional maps. Please note that we are unable to scan in copyrighted maps.

  • Why are some of your maps so old?
    This site acts as a historical collection as well as a current collection. For example, we archive multiple editions of maps published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. These older editions are of interest to researchers, and are not available anywhere else online.
    We provide new non-copyrighted maps as they are made available to us, primarily by the U.S. Government. This is a non-commercial site which is dependent upon the availability of non-copyrighted material for our electronic map collection. Sometimes only older maps are available for a particular place. Because our maps are non-copyrighted, users may download our maps and use them as the basis for revised maps. Please let us know if you know of other non-copyrighted maps for us to add to our site. We also link to other sites from our "Other Map-Related Sites" pages. Please also let us know of other Web sites you would like us to link to.

  • Where can I buy these maps?
    We are a university library map collection and do not sell maps.

    For maps published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The CIA Maps Catalog is available online.

    Maps published by the National Park Service may be obtained by contacting the parks. The National Park Service web site gives contact information for each park.

    U. S. Geological Survey topographic and other maps may be purchased from U.S.G.S. and commercial map dealers. See the USGS Store.

    Additional sources for maps may be found on the Where to Buy Maps page.

    In some cases, your local library will be able to borrow maps for you from other libraries. Contact them for information on that service.

  • Where can I find a map of ... on the Internet?
    Look through our Other Map-Related Sites pages for the maps you need. We also recommend using Internet Search Engines to locate additional maps. We find Google Image Search and Yahoo Image Search to be very effective. For example, you might use the words "map" or "maps" as part of your search, or the equivalent foreign language terms, along with the place name or keyword you are looking for. Due to limited staff, we regret that we are unable to reply to e-mail requests to locate specific maps on the Internet. The following are links to the sites we most frequently refer users to:

    Find location on a map:
  • Bing Maps
  • GeoNames (U.S.)
  • GeoNames (World)
  • Google Maps
  • MapQuest
  • Old Maps Online
  • OpenStreetMap

    Find a trip route:
  • Trip Routing Sites

    Find the distance between two cities:

    Find a topographic map:
  • USGS Store [free downloads of topographic maps]
  • Topographic Maps (PCL Map Collection)
  • Libre Map Project

    Find the location of historical places:
  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • ShtetlSeeker [Central and Eastern Europe]

    Find quick country and state facts:
  • CIA World FactBook [country facts]
  • Country Profiles (BBC Monitoring)
  • FactMonster [country and state facts]
  • State and County Quick Facts (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

    About these Images:
    Maps on this server are presented as they were originally published. The original publisher/source and date of the maps are provided on our web pages. The University of Texas Libraries makes no warranties or representations regarding the timeliness or geographic accuracy of any map in this collection.

    The majority of our scanning is done using a I2S DigiBook which is a 10000 pixel RGB linear array A0 overhead scanner. We also use a Contex Chroma TX 40" wide format scanner for some map formats. Color correction, compositing and image processing operations are performed in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

    Over the years, the approach to scanning for the Map Collection site has evolved. Our earliest scans were on a Apple Color One Scanner. Later, we used a Microtek Scan Maker 9800 XL on a Macintosh G4. In the early years of the site, we scanned maps at 150 to 200 dpi. Currently, we usually scan items at a minimum of 400 dpi. Depending on the content/size/smallest detail of the map we will increase that up 800 dpi and on occasion resolution is decreased down to 200 dpi for less detailed maps.

    Our web site includes links to many other web sites. These links do not imply the endorsement or approval of the content of the sites. The University of Texas Libraries is not responsible for the content of other sites.