Guide for Finding City Plans: U.S. & International
- In the Library
Library Catalog: Keyword Search Tips
- Start out with a keyword search for the city name, starting with the most specific geographic region and moving to larger geographic areas, if necessary.
- If you are looking for a specific type of map (such as a city plan or map), include that information in your keyword search. For example: London City Plan
- There's no need to use “and” between words.
- Use an asterisk (*) as a truncation symbol.
- In the advanced search, limit your search by collection: Maps/Atlases/GIS Data.
- You can sort results by relevance (the default), date, or title.
- Always remember that when you search for a map in Chinook, you are not seeing our full collection; you are only seeing what has been cataloged so far. Contact to the Map Library, and we can help you search for what you need.
- Army Mapping Service: WWII-era maps of European and Asian cities. Map library staff can assist you in finding them. The Perry Castaneda Library (Texas) has a digital collection of these maps that includes city plans from around the world.
- Historic Urban Plans: This is a publisher of historical reprints. CU has collected many of these maps. You can search for them by doing a keyword search of “historic urban plans and (placename).”
- Cities from space: The Map Library has several images of cities from around the world taken from space by Space Imaging.
- Baedeker's: These are late 19th and early 20th century travel guides, predominantly for Europe and Egypt. They contain a number of detailed city maps. You can find them using a keyword search for “Baedeker's and (the county name)” You can check a print index, the Index to early twentieth century city plans appearing in guidebooks.
- Soviet City Plans: Digitized maps of a number of Mediterranean cities and other cities (Palermo, Damascus, Krakow, Istanbul, etc.) mapped by the Soviet Military from the 1970’s and 80’s. Ask a map library staff member about a complete list and access.
- Nautical Charts: Recent and historical nautical charts can be found using print indexes held at Map Reference desk. These charts often have detailed topography of coastal cities and ports.
Select Books and Atlases: These are a few examples of city maps in books in the Map Library. Sometimes books will have maps that are not mentioned in the catalog, so be sure to look for books and atlases about cities and broader geographical areas.
- Atlas of Rare City Maps
- Bird's Eye Views: Historic Lithographs of North American Cities
- Euro City Planner
- Cities of the World
- City Maps of Europe
- Civitates Orbis Terrarum
- David Rumsey Map Collection: When using the “Advanced Search” feature, you can limit the search to city name. Be sure to check variant spellings.
- Historic Cities: This is run by the Historic Cities Center of the Department of Geography, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Jewish National and University Library.
- Perry Castaneda Library Map Collection: The best way to navigate this collection is to search by continent and then country. Then look for the city in which you are interested. They have a large collection of other City Map Sites and Historical Map Sites as well. These resources are provided by the University of Texas, Austin.
- The Library of Congress’ American Memory Map Collection: This collection has many maps, mostly of cities and towns in the United States. This is hosted by the Library of Congress.
- Guide to Historical Maps: Covers many places not mentioned here, including historical maps of world regions.
Tips: Searching the Web
Using Google Advanced Search: You can get to it by starting any search, it will show up to the right of the search box, or by using the provided link.
Advanced search allows you to limit your search to webpages from that country’s top-level domain. This will begin to weed out foreign commercial sites and focus on government agencies that provide maps and GIS data. Be sure to search at different levels of geographical organization.
Use keywords such as GIS, data, city, plan, map, raster, and the name of the city you are looking for. Try searching for these words (including city names) in the language of the country.