Missouri State University
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Missouri State University Libraries

Meyer Library - Maps Collection

General Information

The Maps Collection is located in the lower level of Meyer Library. In the collection you will find maps, atlases, geographic reference works, aerial photographs, globes and travel information. These materials are collectively known as cartographic materials.

Map Resources

The large storage cabinets in the Maps Collection store the flat maps which compose the bulk of the cartographic material collections. The collection includes maps produced by city, county, state, federal, and foreign governments as well as those published by commercial and non-commercial publishers. Two types of maps at various scales are collected for all parts of the world: general maps, which show many kinds of physical and political information, and thematic maps, which show just one subject, such as population distribution or geology. One type of general map, the topographic quadrangle, depicts the earth's surface in detail, typically using contour lines to show elevation above sea level. These are collected for the entire U.S., as well as many foreign countries.

Atlases are collections of general and/or thematic maps bound together in a book. Most atlases include an index to all the place names shown on the maps. The collection includes general and thematic atlases of the world, continents, countries, states, counties and cities.

Geographic reference works are acquired to support the map and atlas collections. These works include encyclopedias, gazetteers, mapping software, and works on historical cartography.

Aerial photographs are the most accurate record of what actually existed on the ground at the time the photo was taken. Our extensive collection of aerial photos covering southwest Missouri includes coverage from 1936 to 1996. They are arranged alphabetically by county, then by photo number; with indexes for each county.

The maps, atlases, geographic reference works and aerial photos are arranged by Library of Congress call number. Bibliographic records for them are in the SWAN online catalog.

The Maps Collection maintains files of current travel information for each U.S. state and most foreign countries. The files include road maps, city street maps, brochures and catalogs describing things to do and see. These files are arranged alphabetically by state, country, and if necessary, by topic.

Globes, while limited by size in the amount of detail they can show, are the only maps of the world which show the true size and shape of geographic areas in relation to each other. They are the best tool to use when comparing areas or calculating distance and direction. There are a variety of globes available for use in the Maps Collection.


While the Missouri State University Maps Collection has a large collection of cartographic materials, we do not have all maps that are currently available. Through computer access to other libraries, online catalogs and map dealer catalogs, any currently available cartographic materials can be identified and requested through interlibrary loan.

We also have Adobe Illustrator and MapArt software which we can use to create custom maps for reports or other uses.

Reference service is provided in person, by telephone, and through correspondence. Services include aid in selecting appropriate maps, creating maps with computer software, and advice on selecting and purchasing cartographic materials.

Cartographic materials, including our large collection of page-size maps, can be photocopied in color or black and white up to 11 x 17 inches on the photocopiers located in the Microforms/Copy Service area next to the Maps Collection. We also have a 36 inch wide copier/scanner which copies in black and white and scans in color. Most materials can be checked out, and are circulated from the Maps Collection circulation counter. Special equipment for tracing or reading materials, such as light tables and stereoscopes, are also available.