Cartographic Materials Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • Cartographic materials are maps, atlases and other representations of geospatial data, produced by the Federal Government, foreign governments as well as private entities. Because of the varied informational needs that are to be met by the map collection, a wide variety of materials are acquired, both domestic and foreign, including maps, atlases, digital geospatial data and cartographic reference books in a variety of formats. In recent years, the importance of digital geospatial data has increased, both in terms of online availability and digital hard copy production.


  • Cartographic materials are acquired to serve the general cartographic requirements of the University community. The collection provides teaching and research materials for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public. Our primary users come from the fields of architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, natural resources, history, and area studies.


collection strength

  • The overall strength of the collection is on the Study Level, i.e. adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject for limited or generalized purposes, however in several areas the collection is comprehensive enough to support research intensity.

collection level

  • study

geographical guidelines

  • The coverage is world-wide, although well-defined areas of interest are developed more intensively including the United States, Canada, Latin America, Western Europe, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

areas of significant geographic coverage

country (self-governing)

  • South Asia 
  • Southeast Asia 

transnational region

  • northern America 
  • western Europe 

language guidelines

  • English is the primary language choice; however attempts are made to acquire foreign materials in native, non-English language.


  • English 

chronological guidelines

  • Emphasis is on contemporary publications, but material portraying all periods is collected. Older materials are not actively sought, but if materials become available they are added after evaluation.


  • Digital satellite data (collected at SPIF, Space Sciences Building); historic and current NYS aerial photography coverage (paper - IRIS, Rice Hall; DOQs – NYS and other G.I.S. Clearinghouses); rare and manuscript materials (Rare & Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library); soil surveys (Mann Library), linguistic atlases (Olin stacks); Web accessible public domain New York State geospatial data and metadata (CUGIR, Mann Library).

material types

  • All publishers or resources for any area are considered, however materials pertaining to Cornell University and Ithaca, New York State, as well as digital geospatial data on CD/DVD or licenses are of higher priority. The variety of formats collected include topographic and thematic sheet maps, digital geospatial data in standard GIS, raster or vector formats, city plans, base or outline maps, aerial photographs of local and international urban areas, navigation charts, regional, national and thematic atlases, bibliographies, directories, technical manuals, dictionaries, biographical works, gazetteers, 3-D globes, relief maps. Early works are acquired only in facsimile.


housed in

  • Olin Library 

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • Government Documents – depository maps from the Army Map Service (retrospective international topographic coverage), the U.S. Geological Survey (retrospective and current national coverage, NOAA and NIMA (current nautical charts covering national and international waters) comprise roughly 50% of the collection. Depository digital geospatial data on CD and DVD from the Bureau of the Census, the USGS and other producing agencies are collected. Three graphics and GIS workstations are equipped to access and manipulate online geospatial data.


library contact

  • TBD