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UNBC Map Collection: National Topographic Series Maps

National Topographic System

The National Topographic System (NTS) is used by Natural Resources Canada for topographic maps of Canada. Our collection includes 1/50,000; 1/250,000; and 1/500,000 scale maps

Finding an NTS Number

NTS numbers are how you locate a sheet of interest in our topographic map collection. These numbers follow a specific format. UNBC, for example, would be found on the 093G15 map sheet. What do these numbers mean?

  • 093G - this refers to a 1/250,000 map sheet - more specifically, 093G is the number for the 1/250,000 map sheet
  • 15 - this refers to a sub-section of 093G that includes Prince George - so 093G15 is the 1/50,000 map sheet where you can find UNBC

You can find a map number by referring to an index map (located in the first drawer of our NTS section), but you can also use the online Toporama Tool. Make sure to select Grids (NTS, Lat/Long, UTM) to turn on the NTS grid layer, and then you can search by address, place name, or coordiate to find the correct map sheet number. The Canadian Geographical Names Data Base can also be used, and is best if you are searching for a specific geographic feature (for example, a named lake or mountain). Our NTS collection is shelved in map sheet order and keeps all editions of the same map sheet together, making it easy to compare changes over time for your area of interest.

Download/Print Topographic Maps

While our map collection is non-circulating, you are able to download and print current topographic maps from the federal or provincial government for field or recreational use:

Federal topographic maps

Use NRCan’s HTML geospatial product index. Under Themes select the type of map you need and in the scale you need. Zoom to your area of interest and click on the desired map (areas outlined in yellow). You can then preview the map, and download it as either a PDF or TIFF.

BC 1:20,000 topographic maps

Find BC 1:20,000 topographic maps using the Topographic Map Viewer

  1. Open the Base Map Online Store.
  2. Zoom in to an area of interest.
  3. Click on the grid square of interest.
  4. Under Raster Topographic Maps (NTS) OR Raster Topographic Maps (TRIM) (BCGS) click on the PDF or TIFF to view and download your map. 
  5. Save or download the PDF map.