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Research Guides

Maps & Cartographic Information: Base/Outline Maps

Search tips for finding maps, atlases, aerial photos, GIS, and other cartographic materials.

Helpful Resources

Frequently Used Print Resources

City of Seattle 8½" x 11" color base map
Maps General Map Cases G4284.S4 1997 .S4

Maps on File / Facts On File, Inc.
Maps Reference G1046.A1 M16 2003
This resource covers the whole world, and includes a hard-to-find small base map of the Pacific Rim.

Base/Outline Maps & the Collection

The UW Map Collection's includes an assortment of base or outline maps, and has worldwide coverage in varying degrees of detail. Some base maps are reproducible without copyright restrictions, while others include specific restrictions regarding reproduction and use.

How to Find Base Maps

These maps can be found in three main areas:

  • Non-circulating 8½" x 11" black and white maps are located in binders in the Suzzallo Basement Closed Stacks. Please ask Map Collection staff for assistance.
  • Additional base maps are located in filing cabinets in the Maps Office. Please ask Map Collection staff for assistance.
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) political and physical maps (in color) are located in the general map cases by call number. These maps do circulate.

Catalog Search Tips: Base/Outline Maps

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) political and physical maps (in color) are located in the general map cases by call number. These maps do circulate and can be found in the UW Libraries Catalog by doing a search for your country of interest and the phrase "Central Intelligence Agency", and then limiting your reslults to the resource type "Maps" using the options on the left of the screen.
Ex. Spain Central Intelligence Agency

Not all base maps have records in the catalog, so please ask the Map Collection staff for assistance if you cannot find what you are looking for.

Related Terms & Definitions

Base maps contain basic visible surface features and boundaries. They are also called outline maps because the most prominent feature is the outline of the country's political boundaries.

These are the best maps to use for PowerPoint or other audiovisual presentations which need a basic map of a province, state, country, or region.