workshop logo Map Cataloging Course Notes

This page outlines the essential fields for the MARC map format. Each field is listed with brief description and examples of use. Links are made to additional materials that help to visualize each field and the origin of the data that it represents.

The materials below are not comprehensive, but merely to be used in assisting the basics of map cataloging.

Some Useful Links

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Selected Terms and Descriptions

Map Scale. A ratio representing the relationship between a specified distance on a map and the actual distance on the ground. For example, at the scale of 1:50 000, 1 unit of measurement on the map equals 50 000 units of the same measurement on the ground. Map scale is frequently expressed as a representative fraction and graphically as a bar scale. (See bar scale, representative fraction and verbal scale).

UTM Grid System, Universal Transverse Mercator. A metric grid reference system which can provide a unique coordinate reference to any position on the Earth's surface between 84° N latitude and 80° S latitude. This grid reference system is commonly used on most large scale military and civilian topographic maps around the World and is based on the transverse Mercator map projection. The UTM Grid coordinates of a point location may be expressed to the nearest metre as a 15 character alphanumeric value, but are usually defined to the nearest 100 metres.

For this grid system, the World is divided into 60 longitudinal zones, each zone being 6° wide and containing 22 latitudinal belts 8° high lettered from "C" to "X" starting in the south. Zone 1 begins between 180° and 174° E the other zones continue eastward through to zone 60. A transverse Mercator map projection is calculated and drawn for each zone therefore, each having its own central meridian.

For each zone a rectangular, square kilometre grid is drawn and positioned over the map projection, the origin being the intersection of the equator and the central meridian. The grid measures 1 000 000 metres east-west and 20 000 000 metres north-south, with the central meridian represented by the 500 000 metre line.

Every grid square in every zone is the same shape and size (hence the name "Universal"). Reference coordinates are given first by identifing the zone number "1" to "60", then the letter representing the belt "C" to "X".

Next, two letters are added to identify the nearest 100 km square, and finally, easting and northing values are measured from the south-west corner within the 100 km square.

A roamer is used as a guide in determining these values. Depending on the map scale, coordinates may be given to within one metre. For example, to identify a point on a map to the nearest metre, the location may be expressed as: "11U NF 84000/55400", "11U" being the zone and belt, "NF" the 100 000 metre square identifier, "84000" the easting and "55400" the northing (always read in this order).

In order to identify the location of points in the polar regions outside the UTM coverage area, the Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS) Grid System may be used. (See roamer).

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Sample Maps

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Metasites for Maps and Map Collections

Universiteit Utrecht, Odden's Bookmarks: The Fascinating World of Maps and Mapping Hundreds of map collection links. The ultimate place to go for any map available.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection (University of Texas at Austin). Has digitized a portion of its print collection (over 3,000) of historic and contemporary maps. Many of the maps are U.S. government originals, which may be downloaded and used without copyright restrictions. Also has links to good web sites for maps worldwide. Main map arrangement is by continent, further broken down into regional and city maps, among other categories.

USGS Maps and Aerial Photo Images Online. Compilation of links to selected USGS Business and Cooperative Research and Development Agreement partner sites where you may view USGS maps and aerial photo images from your Web browser.

Select Bibliography

Andrew, Paige G. ; Larsgaard, Mary Lynette. Maps And Related Cartographic Materials: Cataloging, Classification, And Bibliographic Control. New York : Haworth Information Press, 1999. Also issued as: Cataloging & classification quarterly; v. 27, no. 1/2-3/4.

Clark, Suzanne M. Cartographic Citations: a Style Guide. Chicago: Map and Geography Round Table, American Library Association, 1992. (MAGERT circular; no. 1).

Karrow, Robert W. Manual For the Cataloguing of Antiquarian Cartographic Materials. Chicago : Newberry Library, 2000 1977.

Larsgaard, Mary Lynette. Map Librarianship: an Introduction. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. Z692.M3 L37 1998.

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Map Cataloging Manual. Washington, D.C.: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1991. Z695.6 .L52 1991.

Library of Congress. Subject Cataloging Division. Class G, Geography, Maps, Anthropology, Recreation: Library of Congress Classification Schedules : A Cumulation of Additions and Changes Through 1991. Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Inc., 1992.

Map Cataloging Bibliography: Selectively Annotated. edited by Glenda Jo Fox Hughes and Constance Demetracopoulos. Washington: Special Libraries Association, Geography and Map Division, 1997.

Moore, Barbara N. A Manual of AACR2 Examples For Cartographic Materials. edited by Edward Swanson and Marilyn H. McClaskey. Lake Crystal, Minn.: Soldier Creek Press: Published for the Minnesota AACR2 Trainers, 1981. Z695.6 .M6.



AACR2 Chapter 1 General 3 Cartographic Materials

Library of Congress. Cataloging Division. Cataloging Service Bulletin (quarterly).

Library of Congress. Cataloging Division. Map Cataloging Manual, 1991

OCLC Cataloging Manual: Maps

Mathematical Data for Bibliographic Descriptions of Cartographic Materials and Spatial Data. By Jan Smits, Map Curator, Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Netherlands). All sorts of descriptions and data for map catalogers.

Glossary of Cartographic Terms. Natural Resources Canada site. Glossary of over 380 terms related to the field of cartography, as a supplement to The Fundamentals of Cartography.

Dictionary Of Abbreviations And Acronyms In Geographic Information Systems, Cartography, And Remote Sensing. By Philip Hoehn (David Rumsey Collection) and Mary Lynette Larsgaard (Map & Imagery Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara Library). Designed by John Creaser (Earth Sciences & Map Library, University of California, Berkeley). Comprehensive list of all acronyms. Good for identifying map data.

Sources of Additional Information, Associations

David J. Bertuca, Map Librarian, University at Buffalo.
Created by David J. Bertuca, 26 October 2000, based on materials from the page: Comments are welcome.

Last Modified: 10 December 2008 djb
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The materials selected above do not necessarily reflect those of the State University of New York at Buffalo. They are my own.