RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

While we frequently share interesting early maps from the Cartographic Branch holdings, today we wanted to focus on some of Cartographic’s more recent maps. The RG 263 CIA Published Maps (also called the CIA Numbered Maps or Numerical Series) is made up of over 22,000 declassified maps. These maps date primarily from the 1940s to the 1970s, cover most areas of the world, and provide a particularly interesting glimpse into the activities and interests of the CIA and US government during the Cold War and Vietnam War. The maps show a variety of information, including terrain, geography, boundaries, urban areas, cities, and sociological, cultural, and ethnic information about populations. Many maps also show information regarding political, economic, and transportation features such as roads, railroads, communication lines, industries, agricultural crops, natural resources, boundaries, and military installations.

Through the combined efforts of Cartographic’s summer interns and staff, nearly 3,000 maps from this series are now available online through the National Archives Catalog. These digitized maps represent only a tiny portion of the declassified maps found in this series and we hope to continue to digitize this series as time and staffing permits.

We invite you to browse or search these digitized maps in the National Archives Catalog at the following link: RG 263 CIA Published Maps. To search for maps in this series, use the link  and type the search term into the main catalog search bar, clearing out any data already in the search bar. You can click the blue “search within results” button on the main catalog entry for this series. Please note while searching or browsing that many of the maps may include outdated or historical names and terms that are no longer used today while referring to certain nations, areas, or populations.

Below is a sampling of some maps from within this series:

USSR Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Sites and Long-Range Bomber Deployment. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 33571 (NAID 84786142).
North Vietnam Airfields. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 17737 (NAID 74797469).
North Vietnam Vegetation. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 22479 (NAID 74797481).
Map to Illustrate Territorial Clauses of The Japanese Peace Treaty. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 12107 (NAID 175514953).
Germany – Production of Fuels. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 10054 (NAID 159080669).
Latin America – Status of Boundaries. RG 263, CIA Published Maps, 10169-1 (NAID 159080799).

A partial listing of the declassified maps in the series can be found by clicking the following link: RG 263 CIA Published Maps (Numbered Series). This list includes many maps that are not digitized and may only be requested and viewed in person in the Cartographic Research Room. The easiest way to locate maps that have been digitized is to search within the RG 263 CIA Maps using our online catalog.

2 thoughts on “RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

  1. The generalization on many of these sheets makes me wonder how precise their sources really were. Then again, the Soviet nuclear sites seemed pretty specific.

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