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State Reference Library, Western Australia Liswa map collection.

The map collection of the State Reference Library is the best publicly-accessible, general collection of maps in Perth. The collection is rich in early maps from the United Kingdom used by genealogy researchers, and current travel maps of both countries and major cities. For Australia, there are geological maps and satellite images, maps from all of the state mapping agencies, and complete holdings of the 1:100 000 and 1:250 000 scale topographic maps.

In addition to sheet maps, the collection also includes atlases, gazetteers, street directories for all Australian capital cities and major cities around the world, aerial photographs and satellite images. Globes are also included: globes of the Moon, Mars and Venus and a celestial globe are recent acquisitions, as well as the large globe of Earth.

The collection aims to support the needs of a wide variety of clients, such as geographers, scholars, researchers, tourists, historians, family historians, environmentalists, the business community, librarians, map curators and map collectors. To support such a diverse set of interests, the collection is quite broad. While Western Australian items are collected by the J S Battye Library of West Australian History, the first floor collection covers the rest of Australia, the World, and the known Universe.

In addition to the items you might expect from such a collection (such as atlases of the world and topographic maps of Australia), there are other items of interest. There is the Tartan Map, which shows the different types of tartan for the different clans of Scotland. There are fantasy maps, including an atlas of the worlds in the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis. The Tactual Atlas of Australia in Braille is also in the collection.

Genealogy researchers find the historical maps of the United Kingdom very useful in determining where their ancestors lived, and many use the modern tourist maps and street directories to plan their trips. An important item is the series of 1891 one inch to one mile scale Ordnance Survey maps of the United Kingdom, held in both atlas format and sheet maps. An area of development for the collection is parish maps, mostly for the United Kingdom, and where possible for Australia. Town plans are also collected, enabling researchers to determine almost to the exact house where their ancestors lived.

The travel maps in the collection are well-used by students, prospective travellers and the business community. Where possible, indexed maps in English are purchased for countries, regions and individual cities. For major cities around the world and for regional centres in the United Kingdom and Australia, street directories may also be found in the collection.

Geological maps are also a significant part of the collection, including geological surveys, mineral deposits and stratigraphy, of land, the ocean and of planets.

Rare maps are also included in the collection. The oldest is from 1570, and is Abraham Ortelius' Asiae nova descriptio showing a small part of the north-west coast of the then hypothetical Terra Australis. It was published in the first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, printed in several editions from 1570 through to 1616.

One of the oldest maps of the Australian interior is John Arrowsmith's Australia from surveys made by order of the British Government, made in two parts in 1838 and 1840, joined together on linen and folded into panels. This map was combined with the work of d'Entrecasteaux, Baudin and Freycinet. It shows the Australian colonies at the time, including an inset map of Tasmania (then called Van Diemen's Land), areas of the coast and interior that had been explored, and an inset map of the world. The West Australian part of the map is very detailed for a map made just a decade after European colonisation.

The SRL maps collection is accessible whenever the library is open; however, rare maps may be viewed only during business hours, and require free registration as a researcher. Whether you are planning a trip to France, or you are looking for satellite images of Australia or a map of the oil deposits in the North Sea, there is sure to be something in the maps collection that meets your needs!
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Highlights from Australian Map Libraries, 2004-2005
Author:Smith, Kylie
Publication:The Globe
Geographic Code:8AUWA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:State Library of NSW. Maps Section, original materials branch.
Next Article:Francesca Fiorani, The Marvel of Maps.

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