One of the problems encountered in doing many types of research on Africa is the absence of adequate bibliographical materials on maps. It is true that reliable maps at the desired scales do not exist for some features or areas of Africa. Often, however, the maps do exist but are so scattered through map files and journals and other publications that finding them is a research job in itself. Unlike the situation on books, periodicals, and journal articles, there are only a few references which deal with the nature and availability of African maps, and none of these cover all types of maps.
The range of subjects covered by maps, of course, is enormous--from natural features like the amount of rainfall or types of soils to cultural topics like population distribution, tribal areas, and agricultural products. The major purposes here will be to describe the common types of maps of Africa, to give some suggestions on their uses and availability, and to list a few references which give further information. The authors are making a survey of maps of Africa which is supported by the African Studies Center of U.C.L.A. and welcome this opportunity to call attention to the problems and scope of the project.