Geological maps and atlases

The Map Library has an extensive world-wide collection of maps and atlases on geology and related topics. The library receives maps and associated reports from the Geological Survey of Canada, the Ontario Geological Survey, the United States Geological Survey, and from the geological departments of many other nations, as well as commercial agencies, and international bodies such as the Commission for the Geological Map of the World.

The Map Library has sheets on surficial and bedrock geology, as well as tectonics, metamorphism, magnetism, gravity, geochemistry and geohydrology, mines and minerals and other current topics such as oil and gas, and energy resources.


i. The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC)

The Map Library is a depository library for GSC maps and reports and thus has a good collection of recent material, a good collection of older maps from 1845 on, and some older Memoirs, Papers and Bulletins. Find current maps and reports in PDF format. The maps are filed in three series: a) the earlier published maps eg. 901, 1701, 2105; b) the more recent maps (the A series), eg. 18A, 505A, 908A; and, c) the provisional preliminary maps, eg. 1-1961, 7-1982 etc. The maps and reports are filed in Row 2 under the call no. 3401/C5/1845- . Indexes are filed in the first two drawers of the map series. Consult the small location map on any index to see which index sheet is required. Each numbered rectangle on the index sheet represents a GSC map. The maps are listed in numerical order, by colour, on the index sheet. Each entry in the list includes the actual GSC number of the map (by which it is filed), the area, scale and date of publication. Reports are filed under the same call number by report type and number (eg. Memoir 383) on the map cabinets above the maps. GSC maps of larger general areas are also entered by area in the map catalogue. For more information on the history, maps, reports, and other resources of the GSC, please visit Queen's University's library guide on the topic. 

ii. The Ontario Geological Survey (OGS)

The Map Library is also a depository for maps and associated reports produced by the OGS, and has a complete collection of recent materials, a good collection of older maps and some earlier annual reports. The maps are in two series, published and preliminary. They are filed under the call number G 3501 C5 1891-, the coloured published maps first followed by the black and white preliminary maps. Indexes are filed in the first drawer of the series: Index to published maps, Geological series (3 sheets) Index to out-of-print published maps, Geological series (3 sheets) Index to preliminary maps, Geological series (3 sheets) Index to preliminary maps, geochemical-geophysical and data series (3 sheets) See also the small index sheets for the 'Geological Compilation Series', the 'Northern and Southern Ontario Engineering Geology Terrain Studies', and the 'Mineral Potential Maps' and other specialized indexes.

iii. Geological Surveys of Other Provinces

The Map Library has many of the maps and reports issued by the Geological Survey of Quebec (3481/C5/1883-, Row 3), but for the other provinces, although a series may be issued, coverage in the Map Library is often limited to smaller scale (less detailed) maps, eg. Surficial Geological Map of Manitoba (3541/C54/1000/1981). The call number for geological maps or map series for each province can be found by consulting the map card catalogue and Acquisitions Lists, under the subject and area required, eg. GEOLOGY -- SASKATCHEWAN -- MAPS. A limited number of generally small scale maps, of regions or provinces, are received from agencies such as the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists who published the Phanerozoic Geology of Canada: an illustration of lithological, structural, and stratigraphic relationships of the sedimentary rocks formed since the beginning of the Cambrian period (3401/C5/3800/1978).


i. The United States Geological Survey (USGS)

As in Canada, geological maps are issued by the federal government (primarily the USGS) and state government agencies. All geological quadrangle maps now being published used to be received automatically. The USGS, because of budgetary constraints, no longer deposits these items. Material for certains areas is now purchased from the USGS when required. These are filed under call no. 3701/C5/1894-, Row 6, alphabetically by state and quadrangle name. Some older geological folios are also held in this series. Consult the index to the topographic maps for the state required, to determine the name of the quadrangle which covers the desired area of the study. As well, the USGS issues many series of maps which the Map Library used to receive automatically on deposit. They are filed in row 6. Hydrologic Investigation Atlases 3701/C3/1954- eg. HA212 Miscellaneous Field Studies 3701/H1/1951- eg. MF486 Mineral Investigation Resource 3701/H1/1952- eg. MR40 Appraisals Miscellaneous Investigation Maps 3701/C5/1955- eg. I891 Oil and Gas Investigation Maps 3701/H8/1943- eg. OM291 The maps cover diverse topics such as ground water data, slope stability, geology, Landsat cover images, mineral distributions, oil and gas locations, hydrogeology etc. for areas generally larger than a single quadrangle. Publications of the Geological Survey, 1879-1961 (Z/6034/U49/U53), Publications of the Geological Survey 1962-1970 (Z/6034/U49/U5) and annual Supplements, as well as Guide to U.S. Government Maps (Z/6027/U5/A42/1983) and Supplements provide access to the above series by subject and area. The USGS has also published geological maps of foreign areas and of the Moon and Mars. These are all listed individually in the Map Library card catalogue and the Acquisitions Lists by subject and area, eg. under GEOLOGY -- YEMEN -- MAPS, the Geologic Map of the Yemen Arab Republic, 1:500,000 (7541/C5/500/1975-6).

ii. State Publications

The Map Library has some small scale geological maps, as well as several sets of large scale geologic maps, which were published by state agencies. These maps are listed in the catalogues by subject and area. For example, under GEOLOGY -- TEXAS -- MAPS would be included the Environmental Atlas of the Texas Costal Zone (4031/C5/125-250/1972) from the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas, or under GEOLOGY -- NORTH DAKOTA -- MAPS, the Geologic Map of North Dakota (4171/C5/500/1980) by the North Dakota Geological Survey and the USGS. The Map Library also has a selection of small scale maps from societies such as the Geological Highway Maps (3701/C5/1900/1966-) by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.


The policy of the Map Library is to collect major small scale geological maps (1:500,000 - 1:10,000,000) of other countries, continents, oceans and the world. In some cases medium scale maps (1:250,000) have also been acquired. The publisher may be a national government body, an international body, a society or a commerical agency. Among these, there have been important sets such as the International Quaternary Map of Europe at 1:2,500,000 by Bundesanstalt For Bodenforschung and UNESCO, (5701/C5/2500/1967-), the Map of Recent Vertical Crustal Movements in the Carpatho-Balkan Region at 1:1,000,000 by the Commission of Multilateral Cooperation of the Academies of Science of the Socialist Countries on the Complex Problem of Planetary Geophysical Research (6032/C3C55/1000/1979), and the International Geologic Congress Subcommission for the Cartography of the Metamorphic Belts of the World has, in the last couple of years, issued maps for Africa at 1:10,000,000 (8201/C55/1000/1978), and Asia (7401/C55/5000/1978) and Antarctica (9801/C55/5000/1978) at 1:5,000,000. The Service Geologique National has published the Carte Tectonique de la France at 1:1,000,000 (5831/C55/1000/1979).


The Map Library has a good collection of geological atlases, both regional studies, and atlases on specialized topics. Recent acquisitions, for example, include the World Atlas of Geology and Mineral Deposits (QE/363.8/D475) by Duncan Derry, the Hydrogeologic Atlas of Michigan (Fo/S/1411/C3H9) by the Western Michigan University, Dept. of Geology, and the BMR Earth Science Atlas of Australia (Fo/G/2741/C1A87) by the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources. Atlases can be found by consulting UTCAT under the subject and area required eg. GEOLOGY -- MAPS, GEOLOGY -- AUSTRALIA -- MAPS. To facilitate the use of both maps and atlases, the Library has a few geological dictionaries, and books on geological maps generally in QE.