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About the Map Collection

The Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) map collection consists of over 45,000 maps, sketches, and drawings. The collection spans nearly five centuries, from the era of European exploration to the present day. 

Mapmakers created the bulk of these items in the course of administering the public domain. These include maps of Spanish and Mexican Texas, the Republic and state of Texas; maps of land districts, counties, empresario colonies, and cities; and maps supporting programs granting land for infrastructure such as railroads, navigable waterways, and the construction of the 1888 Texas State Capitol building. Thousands of county, cadastral (land ownership) maps and survey sketches tracing county, territorial, coastal, and river boundaries form the foundation of the collection and help serve as the basis for Texas land law to this day. 

As the GLO’s mission expanded to include real estate development, ranching and mineral leasing, and coastal protection, the map collection grew, and the agency acquired or produced relevant maps covering these topics as well as topographic and aerial imagery.  

Recently, the GLO began acquiring a greater breadth of maps to situate both the agency and the territory comprising the present-day state of Texas in a wider historical context. These items include world maps dating as far back as the sixteenth century, as well as maps of the American Southwest, the United States, and the Western Hemisphere; atlases; nautical and military charts; and birds-eye views of Texas cities.  

Finally, the GLO has worked with several public and private collections to provide digital access to historical Texas maps not in the physical holdings of the agency.