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Maps and Geographic Information Systems


The Maps Unit of Special Collections houses a cartographic materials collection of over 179,000 maps, 2,000 atlases, 80,000 aerial photographs, a small collection of map-related reference books, as well as digital data. The Maps Unit is located on the third floor of the Daley Library.

The Library Catalog is the starting point for your maps research. Reference help is available in the Maps Unit by appointment. Email LIB-MAPS at UIC dot EDU to schedule an appointment. Requests for access to materials may also be made at this email address.

More information can be found in the Research Guides found on the Library's home page.


Cartographic materials are non-circulating and cannot be checked out. Email LIB-MAPS at UIC dot EDU to request access to materials. Appointments for reference assistance may also be made at this email address.

Requested materials are available for use in the Maps Unit during Special Collections hours. Requests for materials are limited to 20 items.

Rare and antiquarian maps must be used in the Special Collections reading room.

Aerial Photos

The Maps Unit has one of the most comprehensive and publicly available aerial photograph collections for the City of Chicago and its surrounding metropolitan area. The collection primarily documents the Chicago region in the years from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s.

Topographic Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are not housed in the Maps Unit. Sanborns may be viewed online or on Microfilm. The Microforms Section of the library can be found on the 2nd Floor - North of the Daley Library.

Rare and Antiquarian Maps and Atlases

Special Collections and University Archives at the Daley Library houses selected cartographic materials in both sheet map and atlas format. Nearly all of these are printed rather than manuscript items and were published prior to 1900. 


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