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Nautical Charts

Nautical charts provide a graphic representation of a section of the water's surface. Important information includes: depth of water, shoreline of the adjacent land, topographic features that serve as landmarks, known dangers and aids to navigation, and tides and currents. Nautical charts in the library's collection are not necessarily the most current versions, and should not be used for navigational purposes.

The library collects nautical charts only for the Great Lakes area. They can be found in Search@UW. To help determine which map you need, consult: 

Plat Maps

A Plat map, called a cadastral map in other countries, shows land ownership.  To search for plat maps in the library catalog, use the term "real property" with your geographic area. We currently collect mainly northeastern Wisconsin plat maps, which are kept in the REF GVP WI collection on 3rd floor.  Historical plat maps are kept in the Archives Department on 7th floor.

In Wisconsin, plat books make use of the Public Land Survey System to represent land ownership patterns on a county-by-county basis. They are a convenient reference for local governments, private realty, surveying companies, and the general public. Commercial plat books for Wisconsin are generally prepared by private map publishing companies in conjunction with county governments. However, many Wisconsin counties have begun to produce and update the maps themselves.

Most counties have a publicly viewable online mapping system for tracking land ownership, usually maintained by the County Land Planning Office in conjunction with the Treasurer's office.

Census Tract Maps

The census tract maps and block statistics maps, which are used in interpreting census data, are housed alongside the printed reports that they accompany. For assistance with these, please consult the reference staff. 

CIA Maps

Small sized CIA maps that are easy to photocopy are kept in the REF/GVP/US collection on 3rd floor, under the SuDocs call number PrEx 3.10/4: in large 3-ring binders. The maps are then filed alphabetically by area name. See the reference staff if you need assistance with these. CIA maps can also be found online:


Atlases contain a variety of maps and can be either very broad in their scope and content, or may focus on a very specific area or topic. All of the atlases in the Cofrin Library can be found in Search@UW. They are shelved on the atlas stands on the third floor.

Aerial photos

The Archives Department houses a small collection of aerial photos, basically of land areas surrounding the bay of Green Bay. The USGS also issues some orthophotoquads in place of standard topographic maps.