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Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Three gables

Map collection

"The new islands" (CC NC-BY-SA)
"The new islands" (CC NC-BY-SA)

The Ibero-American Institute (IAI) has been collecting maps since 1957. Its collection comprises a range of originals and facsimiles of topographical maps, theme-based maps (e.g. geology, highway systems, land use, settlement studies, languages, borders, and botany), city maps, roadmaps and historical maps. As well as offering variety and historical depth, the collection is also unique in that it boasts maps from every country in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. Current holdings comprise around 74.190 maps and 1.530 atlases (75.520 total) . All maps and atlases acquired since 1997 are indexed in the IAI’s online catalog.  Maps and atlases acquired before 1997 can be found in the card catalog in the IAI’s map reading room. 


"Die Vermessung der ibero-amerikanischen Welt"




Historical maps

The IAI is home to some 2,420 historical maps dating from before 1850 and facsimile editions of maps and atlases dating from 1525 to 1850, which form an integral part of the collection. These are mainly topographical depictions of individual regions and countries which reflect the level of cartographical knowledge at that time. The holdings also include pictures and maps of individual cities. This collection aims to give a complete overview of Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. As part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (2009-2010), the IAI was able to formally index and digitize these holdings. The digital copies are available in the IAI’s online catalog and in the IKAR database of old maps.

Historical Maps in the Digital Collections of the IAI


Historical maps of fortifications from Spain and Portugal

The mostly hand-colored sketches of Spanish and Portuguese fortifications – including several drawings by the Italian military engineer Lorenzo Possi, are unique documents which bear testament to the Iberian Peninsula’s military history during the 17th century. The map collection comprises 34 maps dating from 1665 to 1676.


Topographic Map Series

The Ibero-American Institute (IAI) is in possession of an extensive stock of topographic map series at the scale of 1:5,000 to 1:10,000,000. Parts of the collection are cataloged with their entire sets of single sheets and their full level records can be accessed on the online catalog.

Topographic Map Series in the Map Collection


Terms of use

Folding maps and smaller atlases (up to the format 4°) are available for loan, provided they are in a suitable condition. All other items in the map collection may be viewed in the map reading room.

Upon written request, reproductions can be made for scientific purposes. However, this is only possible for materials for which the IAI holds the copyright or which are in the public domain. Likewise, there must be no reasons of preservation to prevent this.

Consultation hours:

Monday 2 p.m. - 4 p.m

Tuesday 10 a.m. - 12 noon

Wednesday: 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. (virtually)

Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m. - 12 noon

Contacts:Daniela Rokoß-Heiß
Caterina Indolfo
Telephone:Daniela Rokoß-Heiß, Tel.: +49 30 266 45 2170
Caterina Indolfo, Tel.: +49 30 266 45 3131

2021 || Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preussischer Kulturbesitz