Public Domain Images Online

Give credit. Pay nothing.

From the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas

Posted by Laurie Frost on May 21, 2011

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas has an extensive collection of digitized maps of the world, continents, nations, major cities, and US states (with a sub-collection of Texas maps), ranging from contemporary to historical, thematic to topographic.

Here is what you need to know about the public domain status of the maps:

Are the maps copyrighted?

Most of the maps scanned by the University of Texas Libraries and served from this web site are in the public domain. No permissions are needed to copy them. You may download them and use them as you wish. We appreciate credit to “University of Texas Libraries” as the source of the scanned images.

A few maps are copyrighted, and are clearly marked as such. Any that are copyrighted by The University of Texas are subject to our Materials Usage Guidelines. The U.S. Government may claim copyright outside of the U.S. for maps such as nautical and aeronautical charts. We recommend that those wanting to republish these maps outside the U.S. should contact their publishers.

A few maps include the official seal of a U.S. Government agency. Federal law prohibits use of these seals in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the agency.

We do appreciate hearing from you about your uses of these materials and we would also appreciate your giving this site credit when it is referred to in anything you publish. Other sites may link to our site or to individual maps without our permission.

Other map-related web sites we link to are frequently protected by copyright. Contact them for information about their usage policies.

Please Note: Maps on other web sites which we link to are subject to the copyright restrictions of those sites. Please contact them for their copyright information. If you are uncertain whether a particular map is on our site or another site look at the url. If, when viewing the map, it begins with “” then it is on our server.

For today’s post, I’ve selected some of the more unusual maps. Use the titles to find the image pages for downloading or zooming in on details.

The first two are from “Illustrations of Japan consisting of private memoirs and anecdotes of the reigning dynasty of the Djogouns, or sovereigns of Japan…” by Isaac Titsingh, London: R. Ackermann, 1822, and are in the Asia Historical Maps category.

Japan – “Earthquake and Eruption of the Mountain of Asama-yama, in the province of Sinano.”

Japan – “The Chinese Factory in the Street of Teng-chan at Nagasaki, founded in 1688.” [Note: During the period of Japanese seclusion, the Chinese, like the Dutch, were allowed to reside and trade in a restricted area in Nagasaki.]

Also in Asia Historical Maps is this one from “Cho-Khang, The Grand Temple of Buddha at Lhasa” from Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet by Sarat Chandra Das, 1902.

[Tibet] Grand Temple at Lhasa 1902

The next two are from Middle East Historical Maps, and although both are of Babylon, they hardly seem to be maps of the same places. The first appeared in Travels in Chaldaea, including a journey from Bussorah to Bagdad, Hillah, and Babylon, performed on foot in 1827, published by Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, London, 1829. I like the descriptive bits, like, “The whole ground exhibits irregular hillocks and mounds.”

From Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Great Britain. Naval Intelligence Division, 1944.

Any map that mentions Terra incognita gets my attention, and there are several that do in the section Historical Maps of Polar Regions and Oceans, among them, Wytfliet’s Map of the Southern Continent, 1597.

From The Scottish Geographical Magazine Vol. XVI, No. 1, 1900.

The next one is from Historical Maps of the United States. I wonder how a map of the distribution of wealth based on 2010 census data would compare.

From The Statistics of the Population of the United States, Compiled from the Original Returns of the Ninth Census, 1872.

Finally, The Notable High Buildings of the World 1896, in the category Historical World Maps featured in Rand, McNally & Co.’s Universal Atlas of The World. Edition 1896.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: