About the Map Collection

What you can find in our map collection and how to access it.


Our materials do not circulate. Advance requests to view materials may be made to the Curator.

Federal collections

We act as a depository for federal maps of Canada and features up-to-date National Topographic Maps, Nautical Charts, and Geological Survey of Canada Maps. We also retain select superseded federal maps from the Atlantic Canada region.

City plans

City planning maps detail land use, which is essential for projecting the growth and development of an urban area. These maps are particularly useful to architecture and planning students, who can use archived maps to show changes in building structure, land use, road construction, and urban growth.

Our holdings include several series of city planning maps for Halifax at various scales. The collection also contains city planning maps for various other cities.

Historical maps

We have a complete set of the A.F. Church Maps, a collection of topographical maps of Nova Scotia counties dating from the mid-1800s.

  • We have a variety of historical maps of the Halifax Region, ranging from nautical charts to bird's-eye view maps.
  • Our holdings include significant historical maps of Canada and select cities.

Geological maps

We have bedrock and surficial geological maps for Canada, including the Faribault-Fletcher series which covers Nova Scotia. Our Collection has provincial and territorial geological map series for Canada, a set of United States Geological Survey (USGS) geological maps and geological maps from select international regions.

Topographic and road maps

In addition to the complete set of Canadian National Topographic maps, we have topographic and road maps for the United States and international regions.


Orthophotos are photos that have been fitted into a standard map projection so that they contain the qualities of both maps and photographs. The Map Collection has a series of orthophotos that cover Nova Scotia at the 1:10,000 scale.

Air photos

We own a partial set of Nova Scotia air photos from the 1960s and 1970s. To purchase or view current air photos, please contact a provincial Land Information Service Centre.


The Map Collection has a wide variety of atlases, including regional, international, and thematic subjects.

Cartographic reference materials

The Map Collection features an extensive array of cartographic reference materials including gazetteers, dictionaries, distance tables, and catalogues.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Centre

The GIS Centre provides support for Geographic Information Systems research and teaching. It is the largest GIS library facility in Eastern Canada and is located on the fifth floor of the Killam Library.