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Research Guides

Maps & Cartographic Information: Thematic Maps

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

Thematic Maps & the Collection

The University of Washington Map Collection has worldwide coverage of various thematic maps at different scales, with an emphasis on themes related to civil engineering, forest resources, geography, geology, oceanography and urban planning.

Demographic Maps

Environmental Maps

Geologic Maps

Historic Maps

Hydrologic Maps

These maps deal with the relationship between the environment and bodies of water, such as in wetlands and flood areas.

Nautical and Aeronautical Charts

Property Maps

Property maps show property ownership or building outlines.

Road Maps

Seismologic Maps

Seismologic maps show earthquake faults and seismic activity.

Soil Maps

These federal maps are usually published by county and are spread out among different branch libraries.
To find them in the UW Library Catalog, use a Keyword search:
Ex. soil survey AND king county

Topographic Maps

Urban Planning Maps

General Thematic Maps

Related Terms & Definitions

A thematic map is simply a map made to reflect a particular theme about a geographic area. Thematic maps can portray physical, social, political, cultural, economic, sociological, agricultural, or any other aspects of a city, state, region, nation, or continent.

Catalog Search Tips: Thematic Maps

  1. Use UW Libraries Search.
  2. In the text box, type in your geographic area and one or more keywords related to your theme and refine your results using the material type "maps."
    Ex.
    demographic maps: population California
    seismologic maps: faults Seattle or earthquakes Seattle
    flood insurance maps: flood adams county or flood Seattle
    soil maps: soil survey King County
  3. Common topic keywords include the following:
    religion
    tourist
    voting
    pollution
    population
    topographic
    military
    political
    climate
    floods
    wildlife
    wetlands
    geology
    volcanoes
    minerals
    landslides 
    roads  
    earthquakes  
    forests  
    soils
    land use
    utilities
    zoning
    zip codes 
    railroads
    coloni** [colonization, colonies]
    geopolitics
    discovery and exploration
    divisions cartography
    history
    emigration and immigration
    navigation  

Thematic maps are classified with Library of Congress call numbers and filed in call number order by geographic area. Consult our LC Map Call Numbers Finding Aid (which is also available in several locations around the Map Collection) or the location maps posted on the walls to help you determine call numbers for a particular area of the world.