Skip to main content

Map Guide: Citing Maps

General Guidelines for Citing Maps

  • Create an in-text citation that refers to a complete citation in an alphabetized Reference List at the end of the work. 
    MLA uses author/page (Jones 3) and APA uses author/date (Jones, 2009) citations.  For more examples and variations see the Map citation websites to the right.
  • If the map does not have an author or corporate author, bring the title to the first position in the reference list citation and use key words from the title in the in-text citation.
  • If the map has not been given a formal title, create your own logical title and place it in [brackets] to indicate such.
  • Indicate that the cited item is a map, aerial photograph, etc. with the appropriate format placed after the title.
    Example:  [map]
  • Document the scale if known; if unavailable use the phrase "scale not given."

Print Maps

Sheet Map

Elements to Include
Author. Title [format]. Edition. Scale. No. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

MLA Style
Metsker Maps. Metsker's Map of Island County, Washington. Map. [ca. 1:70,000]. Tacoma, WA:
       Metsker Maps, 1979. Print.

APA Style
Metsker Maps. (1979). Metsker's map of Island county, Washington [map]. (ca. 1:70,000.) Tacoma,
       WA: Metsker Maps.

Note: The abbreviation ca. stands for "approximately" and is used when a date, or in this instance a scale, is not known exactly.

Sheet Map/Series

Elements to Include
Author. Title [format]. Edition. Scale. Series, Number.  Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

MLA Style
Easterbrook, Don J. Geologic Map of Western Whatcom County, Washington. Map. 1:62,500.
       Miscellaneous Investigations Series, map 1-854-B. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey, 1976.

APA Style
Easterbrook, D. J. (1976). Geologic map of western Whatcom County, Washington [map]. 1:62,500.
       Miscellaneous investigations series, map 1-854-B. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey.

 Map from an Atlas/Book

Elements to Include
Map author. Map title [format] . Scale. In: Atlas author. Atlas Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Date, page.

MLA Style
Magocsi, Paul Robert. Population Movements, 1944-1948. Map. 1:8 890 000. In Historical Atlas of
       Central Europe
. Paul Robert Magocsi. Rev. & ex. ed. Seattle:  U of Washington P, 2003. 53. Print.

APA Style
Magocsi, P. R. (2003). Population movements, 1944-1948 [map]. 1:8 890 000. In P. R. Magocsi,
       Historical atlas of central Europe. (Rev. & ex. ed.) Seattle: University of Washington
       Press. (p. 53).

Map from a Periodical

Elements to include
Map Author if known. Map Title [format]. Scale if known. In: Article Author. "Article Title," Journal
volume (year): page.

MLA Style
Clout, Hugh. "Figure 2: France: Types of Countryside." Map. Scale not given. Hugh Clout. "Rural
       France in the New
Millennium: Change and Challenge." Geography, 91 (2006): 207. Print.

APA Style
Clout H. (2006). Figure 2: France: Types of countryside [map].Scale not given. In H. Clout. Rural
        France in the new millennium: Change and challenge.  Geography, 91, 207.

Online Maps

Single Online Map
Elements to Include

Author. "Map title" [format]. Scale. "Title of the complete document or site". Information date. URL, including the path and any directories necessary to access the document. (The date viewed) 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Cartographer. Cahaba River Natural Refuge. Map. 1:24,000.
      2009. Web. 5 May 2010.

APA (p. 210, no. 53)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [cartographer]. (2009). Cahaba River Natural Refuge [map]. 1:24,000. Retrieved from

Map in an Online Periodical

Elements to Include
Map author. "Map title" [format]. In: Article author. "Article title", Journal title, Volume (Date):
      page. "The Distribution of Canadian Multinational Headquarters in Ontario, 1992" [map]. 3.5
      cm=50km. In: Stephen P. Meyer. "Canadian Multinational Headquarters: The Importance of
      Toronto's Inner City", The Great Lakes Geographer 3#1 (1996): 7.

Thom, Brian. "Hul'qumi'num Traditional Territory Statement of Intent." Map. Scale not given. Brian Thom, "The Paradox of Boundaries in Coast Salish Territories," Cultural Geographies, 16 (2009): 193Web. 25 Apr. 2010.

APA (With DOI No.)
Thom, B. Hul'qumi'num traditional territory statement of intent [map]. (2009). Scale not given. In Thom, B.,  The paradcox of boundaries in coast Salish territories. Cultural Geographies, 16:193.   doi:10.1177/1474474008101516

Citing a Google Map

Elements to Include
“Maplewood, New Jersey.” Map. Google Maps. Google, 15 May 2008. Web. 15 May 2008. 

"Nooksack, WA." Map. Google Maps. Google, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2010.

Nooksack, WA. (22 Apr. 2010). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved from

Citing an Online Aerial Photograph

Elements to Include
Author. Title/frame no. [format]. Scale. Line/roll number. Flight Title. Place of publication: Publisher,
       Date (of image collection not of reproduction).



Map Citation Websites


Some content in this guide based on guides created by:

Julene Sodt, Western Libraries@ Western Washington Univeristy.