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The Map Room Collections

The Map Collection contains approximately 40,000 items dating from the beginning of geological mapping through to the present. Maps are available in flat and folded formats and there is also a collection of atlases. Geographical coverage is worldwide, although there is an emphasis on Europe and the British Isles. In addition to geological maps, some geophysical and other related maps are held. 


Though worldwide, coverage naturally varies from one country to another, for various reasons – including the difficulty of obtaining maps, its mineral resources, the frequency of use, and space available for storage, the Council of the GSL has recommended that maps are collected down to a scale of 1:200,000. 

Types of map available

The Library contains basic geological maps in its primary collection. However it also stocks tectonic/structural maps, economic geology maps, geotechnical, geophysical, geochemical and hydrogeological maps. 

This reflects the wide range of uses to which the collection is put by the Society’s varied Fellowship, which range from academic research, regional interpretation for prospecting companies, water supply, waste disposal, site investigation, building materials and ground conditions for various infrastructural projects.


Geofacets, the new geographic data search tool from Elsevier, is now available for Fellows and Corporate affiliates to use in the library.  This is a quick method for map and document discovery if your search is centred around a particular location on the globe.  Simple GIS search tools allow you to zoom into and find both journal articles and maps published in journals related to your area of interest.  All Lyell Collection materials have been indexed in this way and can be searched using this tool.  Please ask at the Library Counter or in the Map Room if you'd like to use Geofacets.

Library Catalogue


Search for books, journals and maps using the Library catalogue.