Skip to Main Content
Western Libraries

Citation Quick Guides and Style Manuals: Citing Maps

Quick guides to the most commonly used citation styles with links to examples of subject specific styles.

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 general citation guides.


  • 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 M
    illennium: 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):
    Web. 25 Apr.

    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.




    Citing a Google Map

    Elements to Include
    “City, State Abbreviation.” 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).