Map Library

Movable Library Shelving
Old map Collection
Aerial Photography Collection

The Department’s Map Library 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

Selection of Old Maps

China old map

Hong Kong old map

Other Collection


Geography Map Library Internship

Mr. Bosco Chan and Ms. Massie Cheung have completed their 3-month Map Library 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 Map Library thank you for all your efforts and wish you both a successful future!

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 and thus chart series are not made at a uniform scale.

  • Hong Kong helicopter flying chart. (e.g. HM50HFC and HM100LFC Series)

  • Old nautical charts from Hydrographic Office Great Britain. 

  • Hong Kong Harbour from Hong Kong (China). Marine Dept. Hydrographic Office. (e.g. HK0802/03)

Aerial Photography Collection

Acquired chiefly through Departmental Fund and Main Library Book Fund, the aerial photographs of the Map Library consists of around 14,100 stereoscopic prints mainly in black and white but also some in color. Most of these are vertical and some of them are oblique photographs. Our collection of aerial photographs covers most regions of Hong Kong recorded between 1924 and 1996. It includes:


Whole territory


HK Island, Tsuen Wan & Tsing Yi, High Island, Sha Tin, Tin Shui Wai, Sheung Shui, Fanling, Lantau Island


Lantau Island, New Territories (Flying height 16,700 ft.)


Whole territory (Flying height 16,700 ft.)


Whole territory (Flying height 3,900 ft.)


HK Island & Kowloon (Flying height: 1,500 ft. to 12,250 ft.)


Whole territory (Flying height: 10,000 ft.)


HK & Kowloon & new towns (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Yuen Long (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Tai Po, Lam Tsuen (Flying height: 4,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.)


Shatin, Tai Po,  Lam Tsuen (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Yuen Long, Fanling, Sheung Shui (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Kowloon, San Tin, Tuen Mun, Sha Tin (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Whole territory (Flying height: 10,000 ft.)


HK, Kowloon, Sai Kung, Fanling & Sheung Shui, San Tin, Yuen Long, Tung Chung and Tsing Yi (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 5,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 5,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 4,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 8,000 ft.)


Whole territory​ (Flying height: 6,000 ft - 8,000 ft.)

The collection is arranged by years and has been indexed and further matched with flight diagram indexes. Some pocket-sized viewers are available for users to view photographs stereoscopically.

Worldwide Aeronautical Charts, world maps and atlases  

Foreign Aeronautical Charts

  • TPC 1:500,000. Tactical Pilot Charts

  • ONC 1:1,000,000 Operation Nav. Chart

  • ICAO 1:1,000,000 International Civil Aviation Organization

 World map series

  • GSGS Series (eg.Asia - GSGS 4646, 4691 etc) ;

  • 1: 25,000,00 Hungarian People Republic

  • Ordnance Survey map of Britain (eg. OS Langranger Series) , etc

Here are just some unique collections highlight and not the exhaustive listing. Find out more when the library is open or search in our Library's online catalog.

MAPLIB-internship [flyer-web].jpg

Copyright Guidelines

Regulations Governing the photocopying in Map Library

  1. All maps, plans and photographs are subject to copyright protection where applicable. Reproduction in any form or media using all or part of these products without prior permission of the copyright holder is not allowed. Therefore, those using the copying machine in the Map Library should understand that they do so in such a manner which will not involve any breach of copyright.

  2. Any copying of copyrighted materials without the express permission of the copyright holder must be kept within the scope of fair dealing for the purposes of reference, research or private study under the copyright legislation currently in force in Hong Kong.

  3. In cases involving reproduction of multiple copies of maps, it is recommended that users first obtain copyright permission from map producers with information such as title, nature, and format of materials used, name of applicant, reference numbers of maps or photos to be reproduced and the size of extract measured from the original and print-run quantity. The permission for reproduction is normally given on payment of a prescribed copyright fee and inclusion of an acknowledgment in the publication.

  4. If these copyright guidelines are not followed, users may render themselves liable to legal action for breach of copyright.

Please consult Hong Kong Laws on "Fair dealing" of Research and private study
Hong Kong e-Legislation - Chapter 528, Cap. 528 COPYRIGHT ORDINANCE, Section 38 (!en@2016-05-27T00:00:00)


Where are we?

Map Library, Room 1010, 10/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus,
The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong 

Tel: (852) 3917 2827

Map Library Opening Hour

Map Library ( Facilities | HKU-GEOG ) is open for general University use as a reference centre.

Monday to Friday
Sunday and Public holidays


09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00