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Historical Map Collections

Historical Maps at RBSC

This guide has been developed to assist students and researchers in searching for resources relating to historical maps and atlases in the UBC Library collection.

Rare Books and Special Collections’ holdings of cartographic archives and historical maps are especially strong in pre-1800 world/hemispheres, pre-1900 North America and the Pacific Rim, the Canadian Arctic, fire insurance plans of B.C. towns and cities, and Tokugawa / Edo-period Japan. Our printed and archival holdings include historical maps (both printed and hand-drawn), charts, engineering and architectural drawings, atlases and globes, and plans and blueprints.

To search for maps published after 1900, please visit the UBC Library Map Library.

Our Collections

Related Resources

If you want to continue your research beyond our collections, the links below will help guide you in searching the UBC Catalogue and other important databases and journals.


UBC Library Research Guides

Maps & Atlases

  • This is a guide to the University of British Columbia Library Map Collection, including information on what kinds of maps and atlases are in the collection and where to find them, how to find online maps, and how to find other sources of information related to maps.

BC Fire Insurance Maps

  • Fire insurance plans are detailed large-scale maps of cities, smaller municipalities, and industrial sites. This guide is intended to aid users in locating the fire insurance plans of specific blocks within the multiple volumes that cover an area. 

Archival Material

  • This is a guide to searching for archival material in Canada and internationally, with an emphasis on British Columbia. Archival material includes primary sources (generally unpublished material ) such as manuscripts, letters, photographs and audio-visual material.


  • This guide helps you search for resources related to geography, included databases, journals, theses and dissertations, and data and statistics. 


  • This guide will help you locate books, articles, online databases, journals, primary sources, and theses concerning history.