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Cartographica  Laboratory  and  Library

The Department’s Cartographica Laboratory and Library (CLL) is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Hong Kong and nearby regions. It has a collection of almost 61,480 map items (with particular emphasis on Hong Kong and East & Southeast Asia); over 15,800 air photos (especially on Hong Kong); a size-able number of atlases, wall maps, marine charts, satellite images, and cartobibliographies.  The library also houses more than 1,500 geography dissertations and postgraduate theses, completed from 1968 onward.  It has three map browsing stations for HKU users to search for relevant Hong Kong maps in support of teaching and learning as well as research work.

Library Search Engine

Geography CLL Internship

Mr. Bosco Chan and Ms. Massie Cheung have completed their 3-month internship in October 2020. Both are currently enrolled in the HKU Bachelor of Science in Information Management degree programme. They have helped catalogue and shelf 4000 British Admiralty Nautical charts during the internship. The Department of Geography and the Cartographica Laboratory and Library (CLL) thank you for all your efforts and wish you both a successful future!

Sample of research result of a Directed Project involving detailed investigation of an old map

Map Collection

Maps and charts are graphic representations made to selected scale and orientation. There is a wide variety of them. Classification is thus based on its scale, function, or form of representation (e.g. flat sheet, small craft editions, folded, bounded atlas, molded plastic, and maps affixed to the surface of a globe).

Classification by scale: 

Map scales are the ratio between the dimensions of the map and those of reality.
In general, it can be classified into four broad groups: Small-scale topographic maps of large areas (e.g. 1:1000 HPIC series, 1:5,000 HP5C); Large-scale maps with details of smaller areas (1: 50,000, 1: 100,000; Special purpose, or thematic maps that illustrate any graphically represented subject data; Large-scale navigation charts for use in water and air with the use of aerial photography.

Hong Kong maps

a)   Scaled map sheet series

Hong Kong Historical Map series (Imperial system)

  • 1: 600  (HK, Kowloon – the oldest published without height or contour information)

  • 1: 1,200  (New Territories & outlying islands ~ 50’s)

  • 1: 2,400

  • 1: 4,800

  • 1: 9,600

  • 1: 10,000     

  • 1: 20,000  (GSGS 3868 made by AMS & GSGS)

  • 1: 25,000  (L882, L8811 Series)          

  • 1: 100,000

Hong Kong Current Maps series (Metric system) since in early 70’s

  • 1: 1,000

  • 1: 2,500      

  • 1: 5,000  (produced since mid-70’s ; 1996 with digital form)

  • 1: 7,500

  • 1: 10,000

  • 1: 20,000

  • 1: 50,000  (1st bilingual topographic maps)      

  • 1: 100,000

  • 1: 200,000

b)   Classification by function or subject

General reference maps: 

These cover all geographic regions and show a variety of both physical and cultural features. 
For instance,

  • HK official urban & town maps, folded maps & streetmap sheet-sets (e.g. 1:10000 SM10C Series since 1998)

  • HK guide book streets & places (e.g. Hong Kong Guide 1st published in 1988)

Thematic maps & others: 

While they include both physical and cultural information, these kinds of maps display only one or two aspects of the natural environment. 
For instance,

  • Airport height control plans

  • HK countryside maps (1st published since 1971 in waterproof texture)

  • HK geological maps (e.g. HGM20, HGP5, HGM100 series)

  • HK land utilization maps (LUM/HK/75 series)

  • HK outline zoning maps

  • Photobooks (e.g. Hong Kong Now and Then=今日昔日香港 : 香港航空照片集 etc.)

  • Hong Kong in its regional setting, including the Pearl River Delta (e.g. HM300C, PRDM Series)

Navigation Charts: 

These are designed to serve the needs of navigators, nautical and aeronautical users. For instance, nautical charts are produced for marine navigation. They contain information on navigational aids, such as buoys, beacons, lighthouses, radio and radar station, shipping channels and others. Channel depths and near-shore depths are depicted by soundings, fathom lines and layer tints. Unlike topographic maps, the scales of charts vary depending on the details necessary