Tips for searching maps and atlases

We are always looking for ways to facilitate the search among and use of our collections.
A handout contains information on the following topics:
  • Map search
  • Bibliographic data
  • Copyright & citation of maps
  • Use & services
Maps and atlases: Tips for searching 
(PDF, 2.97 MB)


The collection currently comprises 13,000 atlases. Almost 800 among them are from the 16th century, over 600 from the 17th century and over 1,000 from the 18th century. From the time between 1801 and 1850, already more than 2,200 atlases can be found in the collection.

In addition to two collective atlases created in the 16th century, the atlases of Dutch cartographers and publishers of the 16th and 17th century assume a prominent position.


Digital Collections

Lafreri atlas

The so-called "Lafreri atlas" of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek accommodates 191 maps of the 16th century. They were produced by the most famous Italian cartographers, predominantly from the house Bertelli. 15 of the maps form part of the milestones of cartography, 25 were unknown so far.

Lafreri atlas

The atlas was purchased in 2014 with the support of the Culture Foundation of the German Länder and the Giesecke and Devrient Foundation.

The printer, publisher and art trader Antonio Lafreri (1512 – 1577) worked in Rome. Since every customer made an individual selection of maps for his atlas, each atlas is unique. Around 60 to 70 specimens have been preserved worldwide. In addition to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Studienbibliothek Dillingen holds two Lafreri atlases, a further specimen is preserved by the monastery library of Metten.


Fabian, Claudia: Die Welt im 16. Jahrhundert. In: Bibliotheksmagazin (2015) 1, p. 15-21.

Meurer, Peter H.: The „Strabo Illustratus“ atlas: a unique sixteenth-century composite atlas from the House of Bertelli in Venice. Bedburg-Hau i.a., 2004.

Further outstanding pieces

  • Waghenaer, Lucas Janszoon: Spiegel der Zeevaerdt. Leyden, 1584.  (2 Mapp. 190 o-1)
    The first printed, large-format sailing manual.
  • Ortelius, Abraham; Hogenberg, Franz: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp. 1570/ 1577  (2 Mapp. 131)
    The first atlas within the modern meaning of the term.
  • From the Mannheim court library:
    Predominantly atlases of Dutch publishers: Willem Janszoon Blaeu, Joan Blaeu, Jan Jansson and Frederik de Wit. Recognizable on the basis of the splendid supralibros.
    • Atlas Maior Sive Collectio Mapparum Variis Autoribus. Amsterdam, i.a., [between 1650 and 1721].  (2 Mapp. 7, collective atlas, 5 volumes)
  • From monastery libraries:
    Blaeu, Joan: Atlas Maior. Amsterdam, 1662.  (2 Mapp. 18, 11 volumes)
  • Cellarius, Andreas: Harmonia Macrocosmica Seu Atlas Universalis Et Novus (…). Amsterdam, 1660.  (Hbks/R 8 dc)
    An outstanding celestial atlas from the German-Dutch mathematician and cosmographer Andreas Cellarius, printed for the first time in 1660 by Johannes Janssonius. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the hand-coloured first edition.
  • From southern Germany:
    Works from the publishers Johann Baptist Homann from Nuremberg and Matthäus Seutter, Tobias Conrad Lotter and Johann Michael Probst from Augsburg.
    • Homann / Seutter / Lotter: Atlas Maior Sive Collectio Mapparum Diversorum Autorum. Nuremberg, Augsburg, 18th century.  (2 Mapp. 6, collective atlas, 8 volumes)
    • Homann / Seutter: Atlas Selectus. Nuremberg, Augsburg i.a., 17th/ 18th century  (2 Mapp. 8, collective atlas, 5 volumes)
  • Doppelmayr, Johann Gabriel: Atlas Novus Coelestis. Nuremberg, 1742.  (2 Mapp. 275 l)
    An outstanding work of the 18th century.


Carhart, George: Der „Atlas Major“ von 1719 – 21 des Kurfürsten Karl III. Philipp von der Pfalz. Magisterarbeit Universität Passau. Passau, 2005.

Carhart, George: Frederick de Wit and the first concise reference atlas. Leiden, 2016. Explokart historisch-cartografische studies. 16.

Diefenbacher, Michael; Heinz, Markus; i.a. (ed.): Auserlesene und allerneueste Landkarten: der Verlag Homann in Nürnberg 1702 – 1848. Nürnberg, 2002.

Ritter, Michael: Die Augsburger Landkartenverlage Seutter, Lotter und Probst. In: Cartographica Helvetica 25 (2002), p. 2-10.

Ritter, Michael: Die Welt aus Augsburg: Landkarten von Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717 – 1777) und seinen Nachfolgern. Berlin, München, 2014.

Wolff, Hans: Vierhundert Jahre Mercator, vierhundert Jahre Atlas: „Die ganze Welt zwischen zwei Buchdeckeln“: eine Geschichte der Atlanten. Weißenhorn, 1995. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: Aussstellungskataloge. 65.