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Digital Maps: Get Started

Looking for a Digital Map?

This guide is a great place to start. 

  • If you are looking for maps on a particular theme, including geologic, topographic, environmental, or political maps, try the By Topic page.
  • If you're browsing for a map and haven't settled on a theme, check out the resources on the Multidisciplinary page.
  • For tips on searching for digital maps, go to the Search page.
  • Find out how to cite maps in your work on the Cite page.

Base Maps and Reference Maps

Glossary of Map-Related Terms

  • Topographic Maps: Maps that has contour lines to show relief and other natural features.

    section of a topographic map of Boulder
  • Thematic Maps: Maps that show information on a topic, such as this map showing ocean currents and sea ice.

    map of ocean currents from 1943
  • Planimetric Maps: Maps showing only horizontal features; these maps do not show relief.

    map of Argentina
  • Base Maps / Reference Maps: Basic maps on which information may be placed to show a geographic relationship or correlation.

Please visit the Perry-Castañeda Library's Glossary of Cartographic Terms for more information on map-related terminology.

Ask A Map Librarian

Call (303) 492-7578


More about the Map Collection


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Map Collection
2200 Colorado Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 492-7578

Image Attributions

  • USGS. Boulder quadrangle. 1:24,000. 1966.
  • American Geographical Society. Ocean currents and sea ice. From Atlas of World Maps. United States Army Service Forces Manual M-101, 1942. 
  • U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Argentina. 1996.
  • Central Intelligence Agency. Africa. 1:51,400,000."The World Factbook"