Maps, Charts and Architectural Plans Collection: A Search Guide

This search guide will help you search, order, consult and research our maps, charts and architectural plans.

There are 5 separate databases, the table below will help you find where to look. 

On this page:

Further Research

How to perform your search

Locate cartographic material in the databases

The table below lists some of the types of material in the LAC collection and which database search(es) to use for each. The material is grouped by category (i.e., air photos, atlases, charts, geomatics, globes, maps, and plans). Popular types of materials are also listed for most categories.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list. LAC databases are continually being updated with new records. This table only provides search information for the more commonly requested maps, charts and architectural plans at LAC. If you do not find what you are looking for in the table below, try searching all databases or Ask Us a Question.
You can now find all the records that were in the "Maps, Plans and Charts" database by using Archives Search*. 

Table showing the type of material and the databases it can be found in

Below is a table listing frequently sought types of cartographic material in the left column and in the row to the right of each material type is a linked acronym linked to the appropriate database search tool.


Type of material

Grouped by category

Search: Library Search and AMICUS

Search Help

Search: Archives Search*

 Search Help

Search: Indian Reserves- Western Canada

Search: Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) (Archived)

Search: Western Land Grants

Search: Finding Aids (Archived)**

Air Photos



National Air Photo Library
County Atlases
British Admiralty Charts
Canadian Hydrographic Charts        
The Atlantic Neptune        
Canada Land Inventory
Electoral/Election Maps  
Fire Insurance Plans        
Three-Mile Sectional Maps of the Canadian West (1891-1955) 1:190 080 scale

Bird's Eye Views
Census Maps        
Early Historical Maps
Geological Maps        
Government Maps
Indian Reserves      
Land Grants      
National Topographic Series 1:50 000 and 1:250 000 scale
One Inch to One Mile Series 1:63 360 scale
Soil Survey        
Trench Maps  
Township Maps
Architectural Plans  
Fire Insurance Plans        
Fortification (Surveys)
Government Plans            
Township Plans      

*Using Archives Search, you can now find all the records from the "Maps, Plans and Charts" database.

The Maps, Plans and Charts database can also be downloaded in XML format via Open Data from LAC.

**Finding Aids (Archived) are tools that provide access to archival material and come in many different forms, including lists and descriptive inventories.


Search guides for maps, charts and architectural plans


How to enter search terms when searching for:

Note: Library Advanced Search and AMICUS Advanced Search use the same database.

Guide for using Library Advanced Search

Related Link:
  • Use one or more of the "Any Keyword" fields when doing a search.
  • If searching with a date, it is advisable to enter the date into an "Any Keyword" field.
  • Under "Search In," select "LAC Catalogue" to search the LAC collection only.
  • In the "Format" drop-down menu, select "Map."
    Note: When searching for an atlas, type "atlas" in an "Any Keyword" text box and leave the "Format" as "All."
  • Select "Submit."

Example 1: Library Search - Advanced
Example 2: Search for an atlas
Screen cap of Advanced Search interface with specific text entries in  

Guide for using AMICUS Advanced Search

Related Link:
  1. Under "Choose a Catalogue," select "National Library Collections" to search LAC collections.
  2. In the Keyword drop-down menu, select "Any Keyword."
  3. In the Keyword text boxes, enter "cartographic" (or "cartographique" for maps in French).
    Note: When searching for atlases, enter "atlas" instead of "cartographic."
  4. Enter all additional search terms.
  5. Select: "Submit."


Guide for using Archives Advanced Search

Related Links:
  • Always use "Any Keyword" when doing a search.
  • If searching with a date, it is advisable to enter the date into an "Any Keyword" field.
  • In the "Type of material" drop-down menu, select whichever is appropriate for your search, either: "Maps and cartographic material" or "Architectural and technical drawings"
  • In the "Online" drop-down menu, select "Yes" if you want descriptions with digital images only.
  • Select "Submit."

Screen cap of Archives Advanced Search with text entries in  
On the Search Results page:
Use the "Limit to" options in the right-hand column to further narrow your search results.
E.g., the "Item" option in the "Hierarchical Level" limits results to the individual or item-level descriptions (i.e. a single map instead of a group of maps).

Displayed is a screen cap of the  

How to improve search results

General: It is recommended that you always use "Any Keyword" in the Keyword field when searching.

: Because the publication dates of maps can be uncertain, you may wish to avoid using the "Date" text box; instead, enter dates into an "Any Keyword" text box to improve search results.

Keep in mind that the databases contain descriptions of historical documents. You may need to use expressions and words whose meanings have changed over time to improve your search results (i.e. Great War, European War, First World War, World War 1, Klondike, Klondyke). Be aware of changes in place names (i.e. Fort Frontenac, Cataraqui or Cataracoui = Kingston, Ville-Marie = Montréal, Bytown = Ottawa, York = Toronto). Publishers of older maps often changed French place names to an English equivalent. (i.e. Île-aux-Grues changed to Crane Island, Pointe-Lévis changed to Point Levi, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu changed to St. John's).

Map Series:
When searching for a specific title from a map series (such as the 1:50 000 NTS or nautical charts), it is recommended that you search by the sheet number or the individual title.

Do you have a question?

If you require assistance while performing your research, please submit the Ask Us a Question form.
  • Online order form
  • Request for retrieval of documents

How to consult and order reproductions

How to consult

Material can be consulted online or in person. Maps available online will have a link to the digitized image in the database description (i.e. Insurance plan of Ottawa, Ontario June 1878).

  • Maps that have not been digitized must be consulted in person.
  • If you wish to order material in advance for in-person consultation, you can complete a Request for Retrieval of Documents.
  • If you are planning a visit to Library and Archives Canada, please refer to Visit Us.

How to order reproductions

You may order photocopies and reproductions of maps viewed online or in person. Please keep in mind that restrictions may apply (i.e. copyright).

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