The map collection consists mainly of topographic maps and plans. In addition to this material there is a large amount of thematic mapping. This is mapping which aims to show a particular feature of the landscape or which superimposes other geographical information over the landscape.
The Library holds examples of geological mapping from all over the World. However the main area of speciality is the British Isles. The Library receives all publications by the British Geological Survey and also has a large collection of historical geology mapping for Great Britain.
In addition to published land use mapping from throughout the World, the Library also holds published sheets from both the 1st and 2nd national land use surveys.
The fair copies of the land use and vegetation survey are currently being digitised and will be available to view on the Digital Mirror.
In addition the Library is home to the original manuscript working drafts of the 2nd land use survey in Wales. Much of this material is unpublished and this is therefore a valuable source of information on the changing rural landscape of Wales. The base-maps are Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping which has been coloured to show land use.
The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) has recently donated the original mapping from the Habitat Survey of Wales, to the Library. Again OS base-maps have been coloured, this time to show habitats. This information has now been digitised by the CCW, but to ensure that the original Master Maps are preserved for the future, they were passed to the Library, where they could be suitably stored and made available for future study.
The Finance Act 1909-10 allowed government to tax increases in property value when it was sold. As part of the valuation process a set of maps was drawn up. These maps were based on OS maps with the information used by the valuers added in manuscript.
The Library holds the maps for Cardiganshire and also has some sheets from other counties. For further information about the Finance Act visit The National Archives Website and read the research guide: Valuation Office Records: The Finance (1909-1910) Act
Goad plans are detailed plans of town centres. They were first produced for purposes of fire insurance and are still produced today in electronic format and print-on-demand. They are useful because they are very highly detailed (usually 1:1,000) and provide information on the use of each building, and often the name of the business using it; this is a valuable resource for historical research.
The earliest examples we have are from the 19th century and cover the city centres of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1970s to the 1990s and covers not only every major city and town in Britain and Ireland, but also many in Western Europe.
More recently the company stopped publishing printed copies and the Library ceased to receive them under legal deposit. The Library has continued to purchase print-on-demand copies of those plans covering Wales.
The Library has aimed to obtain thematic mapping for overseas countries, including geological, land use and soil mapping for individual countries. There are also some international maps (often produced under the auspices of UNESCO or other international organisations) that cover, or aim to cover the whole world.
Many national atlases also consist mainly of thematic mapping, such as geology, soils, climate, population etc. These can be a valuable source of information for those studying the environment, development or regional geography.