Asia Maps: Digital Collections

Major digital collections of maps of Asia, regions within Asia, and individual countries can be found at the following selected sites. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and will be updated frequently – please send your comments and suggestions of additional useful Asia map sites to us at asianarc@bu.edu.

Robert Murowchick
Associate Director, BUCSA

Comprehensive Digital Map Collections:

Old Maps Online

hindoostan-1831Originally a collaboration between Klokan Technologies GmbH, Switzerland and The Great Britain Historical GIS Project (University of Portsmouth, UK), this fantastic collection now indexes some 400,000 maps dating from 1550 to 2000 representing the collections contributed by 35 participating libraries and archives around the world. Searches can be undertaken by entering a term or by drawing a rectangle on a world map, with yields a list of relevant maps on the right side of the page. The individual maps are zoomable, although the quality of the resolution depends upon the nature of the scan provided by the source institution.

Europeana Collections
The superb Europeana website brings together the finest digital images from participating national libraries, archives, and museums across Europe, now totaling more than 53 million images. To find maps, in the initial search window enter the region or country of interest and “map”. A search for “China map”, for example, yields over 4,600 maps, images, and texts.

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: 10. Asia
This site contains links to hundreds of online digital map collections, organized by country and region.

Collections with Maps | Library of Congress

vietnam-yuenan-quan-jing-yu-tuThe Library of Congress holds the world’s most comprehensive map collection “…numbering over 5.5 million maps, 80,000 atlases, 6,000 reference works, over 500 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats, including over 19,000 cds/dvds.” A small but growing subset of this collection is available online in digital form. A search for particular regions or countries yields a list and thumbnail images of relevant holdings. The “Discovery and Exploration” collection holds a number of high-resolution maps of Asia from the 15th through 19th c.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
This collection, originally the private collection of David Rumsey and now housed at Stanford University, contains more than 150,000 maps and other cartographic items from the 16th through 21st centuries, with more than 1000 maps in its Asia collection. Individual maps are zoomable, and are of very high resolution.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas: Asia
The UT map collection in the Perry-Castañeda Library contains more than 250,000 maps, of which about 1/3 have been digitized and are available online. Searches are very straightforward in a cascading list Asiaàregionsàindividual countries. Selected historical, thematic, and topographic maps are included. Of particular interest are comprehensive collections of US AMS (Army Map Service) sheets.

Harvard Map Collection – Harvard College Library
The Harvard Library map collection is one of the largest and oldest collections in the US. Established in 1818, it now holds 400,000 maps, 6,000 atlases, and 5,000 reference books. A subset of these are now available in digital form at http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/maps/digitalmaps/. The process for viewing a map is a bit circuitous: When you undertake a search, you will see a list of found maps; click on “full record,” then click on the HGL ID (Harvard Geospatial Library ID) link. Add the map to your shopping cart; the compressed image will be sent to your e-mail account as a .zip file. When uncompressed, you are rewarded with a spectacularly detailed image in .jp2 format.

Digital Collections, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries 
A search for “map” yields over 9,000 scanned images; further refine your search with additional search terms (e.g. India map; Japan map)

American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Excellent digital scans drawn from the American Geographical Society (AGS) map collection; browsable and searchable by country.

John Carter Brown Map Collection, Brown University
The John Carter Brown library at Brown University (Providence, RI USA) contains more than 13,000 items, including over 4,000 maps. The Asian collection provides high-resolution zoomable scans of over 300 maps dating between the early 16th c. and the late 19th c.

Asian Maps Collection, University of Southern California
china-1800This USC collection focuses on East and Southeast Asia, with a particularly interesting Sea of Korea Collection of northeast Asian maps dating from 1601 to 1895.

Historical Maps of Asia, University of Alabama
Historical Maps of East Asia, University of Alabama
Organized chronologically, these digitized maps are viewable and zoomable but only in a relatively small window.

Landkartenarchiv – Historische Landkarten, Stadtpläne und Atlanten (Map Archive: Historical Maps, City maps, and Atlases) online

National Archief – National Archive of the Netherlands Kaartencollectie | Map Collection
Particularly strong collection of Southeast Asian maps of the Dutch colonial period.

National Library of Australia Map Collection

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library   

Ryhiner collection: maps of the world – University of

Antique Atlas

Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Asia Collection

Newberry Library (Chicago) Maps, Travel, and Exploration Collection
Newberry Library (Chicago) Special Map Collections and Strengths

Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine
Small but superb collection of world maps built around the core collections of Eleanor and Lawrence M.C. Smith, and Harold and Peggy Osher; includes about 50 high-resolution maps of Asia and individual countries from the 15th-19th centuries.

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: East Asia

Antiquarian Map Vendors with substantial Asia collections:

A number of antiquarian map dealers also consistently maintain rich offerings of Asia-related maps viewable as high-resolution images. These include:

Antique Atlas Online Catalogue 
Paulus Swaen Map Auction and Galleries
Jonathan Potter Antique Maps
The Map House of London 
Geographicus Rare Antique Maps
Bergbook Rare Antique Maps
Murray Hudson Antique Maps, Globes, and Prints – China
Brian DeMambro Rare Books and Maps
Antique Print Room – Sydney :: MAPS World
Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
Barry Lawrence Ruderman City Plans of Asian Cities

Notable Collections of Asian Regions and Countries:

Maps of China

Maps of China in the Perry-Casteñeda Library, University of Texas

Maps of China in the David Rumsey Map Collection
Presents 540 high-resolution maps from the mid-16th through the 20th centuries.

Army Map Service L500 Series maps of China, Harvard College Library

Maps of China, Library of Congress
This site presents more than 400 scanned maps selected from the Library of Congress’s collection of more than 5,000 maps of China

Maps of China, Visual Cultures of East Asia

Provincial Maps of China中國分省地圖冊

Shanghai Maps Database (Virtual Shanghai), Osaka City University
shanghai-land-value-1927-mapStraightforward collection of medium-resolution scans of nearly 800 maps of Shanghai from 1858 to 2008.

Historical Maps of China

Several interesting Chinese blog sites provide maps of varying scan quality. Many surprises are to be found, as long as the pop-up ads don’t annoy you. The content is constantly changing as users upload additional materials. These blogs include:
Historical Maps of Nanjing南京老地(160图)

Historical Maps of SHANGHAI 上海老地(174图)

Japanese Military maps of China, WWII 军军用航空

Japanese Maps of China, WWII 日版、民国用地 (50 图)

Maps of numerous Chinese provinces, 1850 清二京十八省

Beijing Republican army maps 北京民国用地 (37 图)

NationMaster – Maps of China (95 in total)

China Data Center, University of Michigan 密西根大学中国信息研究中心 provides a range of traditional and GIS maps; population, economic, and other thematic data, administrative boundary maps of China 1949-2015 (as GIS shape maps), and other resources, many of which are free. An introductory video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxHxQftFZXA&feature=youtu.be

Maps of Southeast Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Southeast Asia

Historical Maps of Southeast Asia, University of Alabama

The Geography of East and Southeast Asia, Hofstra University Map Library

Kaarten van de VOC (Maps of the Dutch East Indies Company) | GAHETNA

Carte Cambodge, Angkor, histoire, documents en ligne LEXILOGOS 

Dutch Colonial maps in the collection of the Royal Tropical Institute, Leiden University Libraries

L’Indochine Coloniale – Plan et Cartes (Maps of French Colonial Indochina)

Indochina and Thailand Maps, US Army Map Service (AMS) Topographic Maps, Perry-Castañeda Map Collection, University of Texas

Maps of South Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: South Asia

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Indian Ocean

Maps of South Asia, Columbia University Library 

Historical Maps of South Asia before 1825, University of Alabama

Maps of India

Maps from the Imperial Gazetteer of India (volumes 1-24)
calcutta-map-gazetteer_v9_pg288bProvides high-resolution scans of the maps contained in the 24-volume Imperial Gazetteer, published in various editions between 1881 and 1931. The full text with detailed geographical, historical, ethnic, linguistic, economic, and administrative information can be found at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/

India Maps, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas

Historical Maps of India

Outline Maps of India

Maps and Data, Survey of India (SOI)

Antique Maps of India, Map House of London

Antique Maps of India and Nepal

Antique Maps of India, Bergbook.com

Maps of India and South Asia, Virtual Art Map Fair
Provides options for size of file, from small to huge

Murray Hudson Antique Maps, Globes, and Prints — India
A huge collection, currently presenting more than 1,600 maps of India, downloadable as high-resolution images

Tibet Maps – From the Collections of the American Geographical Society Library (AGSL)

A Historical Atlas of South Asia, edited by Joseph E. Schwartzberg. Digital South Asia Library

India PlaceFinder (Mizushima Lab, University of Tokyo and Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago)
A tool for finding geographic information about Indian place names.

Maps of Japan:

Japanese Historical Map Collection, David Rumsey Collection
The Japanese Historical Map Collection presents 1,900 digitized early maps of Japan from a collection of 2,300 early maps of Japan and the World acquired by the University of California from the Mitsui family in 1949. The collection is housed in UC-Berkeley’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library.

Japan Maps in the Perry-Casteneda Library, University of Texas

Historical Maps of Japan
No-frills maps illustrating changing historical political borders from premodern Japan through 1600

Historical Maps of Japan (University of Alabama) 

Tokyo Archive, Tokyo Metropolitan Library 「東京都立図書館・東京アーカイブ」
The Tokyo Archive specializes in materials related to Edo and Tokyo, and includes maps of pre-modern Tokyo.

Historical, Demographic and Economic Maps of Japan (G. William Skinner collection, University of Washington Libraries)

Gaihôzu: Japanese Military and Imperial Maps | Stanford University Libraries
wc958mv2300_00_0001As its website states, “Stanford University Libraries holds a large collection of Japanese military and imperial maps, referred to as gaihozu, or “maps of outer lands.” These maps were produced starting in the early Meiji (1868-1912) era and the end of World War II by the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army.  The first charge was to map specific territories beyond Japan’s borders.  Over time the mapping efforts grew to including “mapping of interimperial boundaries, cadastral surveys of the colonies, and detailed drawings of strategic cities and fortifications.”  Geographically the Stanford maps cover a broad area including Japan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, and beyond.”

Historical Maps of Japan
Includes links to hundreds of individual maps of Japan in other institutional collections or publications

Maps of Central Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Central Asia

Cyrillic Maps of East and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia | Indiana University Libraries
An extensive collection of maps produced by Russia/the Soviet Union between 1890 and 1940

19th-Century Maps of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, University of Chicago Library
Selecting a polygon on a world map brings a list of relevant maps, each of which is viewable in very high resolution

Maps of Southwest Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Southwest Asia

19th-Century Maps of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, University of Chicago Library
Selecting a polygon on a world map brings a list of relevant maps, each of which is viewable in very high resolution

Some interesting thematic collections:

Gaihôzu: Japanese Military and Imperial Maps | Stanford University Libraries
As its website states, “Stanford University Libraries holds a large collection of Japanese military and imperial maps, referred to as gaihozu, or “maps of outer lands.” These maps were produced starting in the early Meiji (1868-1912) era and the end of World War II by the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army.  The first charge was to map specific territories beyond Japan’s borders.  Over time the mapping efforts grew to including “mapping of interimperial boundaries, cadastral surveys of the colonies, and detailed drawings of strategic cities and fortifications.”  Geographically the Stanford maps cover a broad area including Japan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, and beyond.”

Asian Cities – Late 19th- and early 20th-century maps, University of Chicago Library g7904-s478-1920-k4Map Collection
The library holds a large collection of Asian city maps, a selection of which are available online as 400 dpi scans.

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami maps in the Perry-Casteñeda Library, University of Texas

Soil maps of Asia. European Commission Joint Research Centre, European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC)

Historical Maps of Pacific Theatre in WWII

South China Sea territorial debate
1937_nanhai_daoyuprovides an interesting array of maps of the South China Sea published by different sources in 1937, 1939, 1946, 1947, 1951 and later. If you click on each individual map, you can download a very high resolution scan.

Basic Outline Maps of Asia and the Pacific
This site provides copyright-free outline maps (with and without labels) for classroom use.

Geo-Spatial Digital Archive Project for Southeast Asia, Bangkok

Maps of South Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: South Asia

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Indian Ocean

Maps of South Asia, Columbia University Library 

Historical Maps of South Asia before 1825, University of Alabama

Maps of India

Maps from the Imperial Gazetteer of India (volumes 1-24)
calcutta-map-gazetteer_v9_pg288bProvides high-resolution scans of the maps contained in the 24-volume Imperial Gazetteer, published in various editions between 1881 and 1931. The full text with detailed geographical, historical, ethnic, linguistic, economic, and administrative information can be found at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/

 

India Maps, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas

Historical Maps of India

Outline Maps of India

Maps and Data, Survey of India (SOI)

Antique Maps of India, Map House of London

Antique Maps of India and Nepal

Antique Maps of India, Bergbook.com

Maps of India and South Asia, Virtual Art Map Fair
Provides options for size of file, from small to huge

Murray Hudson Antique Maps, Globes, and Prints — India
A huge collection, currently presenting more than 1,600 maps of India, downloadable as high-resolution images

Tibet Maps – From the Collections of the American Geographical Society Library (AGSL)

A Historical Atlas of South Asia, edited by Joseph E. Schwartzberg. Digital South Asia Library

India PlaceFinder (Mizushima Lab, University of Tokyo and Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago)
A tool for finding geographic information about Indian place names.

Maps of Japan:

Japanese Historical Map Collection, David Rumsey Collection
The Japanese Historical Map Collection presents 1,900 digitized early maps of Japan from a collection of 2,300 early maps of Japan and the World acquired by the University of California from the Mitsui family in 1949. The collection is housed in UC-Berkeley’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library.

Japan Maps in the Perry-Casteneda Library, University of Texas

Historical Maps of Japan
No-frills maps illustrating changing historical political borders from premodern Japan through 1600

Historical Maps of Japan (University of Alabama) 

Tokyo Archive, Tokyo Metropolitan Library 「東京都立図書館・東京アーカイブ」
The Tokyo Archive specializes in materials related to Edo and Tokyo, and includes maps of pre-modern Tokyo.

Historical, Demographic and Economic Maps of Japan (G. William Skinner collection, University of Washington Libraries)

Gaihôzu: Japanese Military and Imperial Maps | Stanford University Libraries
wc958mv2300_00_0001As its website states, “Stanford University Libraries holds a large collection of Japanese military and imperial maps, referred to as gaihozu, or “maps of outer lands.” These maps were produced starting in the early Meiji (1868-1912) era and the end of World War II by the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army.  The first charge was to map specific territories beyond Japan’s borders.  Over time the mapping efforts grew to including “mapping of interimperial boundaries, cadastral surveys of the colonies, and detailed drawings of strategic cities and fortifications.”  Geographically the Stanford maps cover a broad area including Japan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, and beyond.”

Historical Maps of Japan
Includes links to hundreds of individual maps of Japan in other institutional collections or publications

Maps of Central Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Central Asia

Cyrillic Maps of East and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia | Indiana University Libraries
An extensive collection of maps produced by Russia/the Soviet Union between 1890 and 1940

19th-Century Maps of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, University of Chicago Library
Selecting a polygon on a world map brings a list of relevant maps, each of which is viewable in very high resolution

Maps of Southwest Asia:

WWW Virtual Library: History of Cartography: Images of early maps on the web: Southwest Asia

19th-Century Maps of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, University of Chicago Library
Selecting a polygon on a world map brings a list of relevant maps, each of which is viewable in very high resolution

Some interesting thematic collections:

Gaihôzu: Japanese Military and Imperial Maps | Stanford University Libraries
As its website states, “Stanford University Libraries holds a large collection of Japanese military and imperial maps, referred to as gaihozu, or “maps of outer lands.” These maps were produced starting in the early Meiji (1868-1912) era and the end of World War II by the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army.  The first charge was to map specific territories beyond Japan’s borders.  Over time the mapping efforts grew to including “mapping of interimperial boundaries, cadastral surveys of the colonies, and detailed drawings of strategic cities and fortifications.”  Geographically the Stanford maps cover a broad area including Japan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, and beyond.”

Asian Cities – Late 19th- and early 20th-century maps, University of Chicago Library g7904-s478-1920-k4Map Collection
The library holds a large collection of Asian city maps, a selection of which are available online as 400 dpi scans.

 

 

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami maps in the Perry-Casteñeda Library, University of Texas

Soil maps of Asia. European Commission Joint Research Centre, European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC)

Historical Maps of Pacific Theatre in WWII

South China Sea territorial debate
1937_nanhai_daoyuprovides an interesting array of maps of the South China Sea published by different sources in 1937, 1939, 1946, 1947, 1951 and later. If you click on each individual map, you can download a very high resolution scan.

 

 

Basic Outline Maps of Asia and the Pacific
This site provides copyright-free outline maps (with and without labels) for classroom use.