Collecting Road Maps

This page provides links to (almost) everything that you might want to know about road maps, and how to start collecting them. It also shows some of the benefits of becoming a Member of the RMCA, which includes access to a large number of detailed members-only pages listed at the bottom of this page.

Membership Signup / Renewal Changes

Changes are occurring on the Road Map Collectors Association website. Some of you may have noticed that our renewal / joining page page is different. We are transitioning all members to a fixed annual renewal date with website access through September of each year. We have decided to undertake this for two reasons: to make it easier for members to know when it is time to renew and to make the website member access a bit easier to manage.

Public Pages

Public pages are visible to everyone, and provide an introduction to the map collecting hobby.

The Types of Maps People Collect. Links to an article from Legend #45 (the club’s newsletter) that looks at some of the types of maps collected: oil company issues, official state issues, auto club maps, those published in a single year, maps with scenic covers, maps for special events…

Links From Our Members. Some of our members have their own websites, either as map dealers/traders, or simply to showcase favorite maps from their collection. This page links to the best of them.
Useful Map Sites do not belong to members.

North American Major Oil Companies’ Map Master Lists. If you’re just starting to collect oil company maps, or if you have a map that you are looking to sell on eBay and are not sure if it’s rare, this page list the main oil companies, most of whose maps are quite commonly found.

Dating Rand McNally and Gousha Maps. Dating maps from the big cartographers is remarkably easy – once you know the codes! This page explains how they work, and should be checked by all vendors before trying to sell a map (please!)

Maps by the Decade Examples of road maps from the 1900s-1960s
Maps by the Decade Part 2 More road maps, from the 1970s-2000s

For travelers looking for current road maps, the following pages may be helpful:
State Transportation Department Map Links
State Tourism Department Map Links

Libraries with map collections

More about the RMCA

Our newsletter – the Legend – is generally published four times a year and is sent to all members. There is an archive of past issues that only members can access, but to see what you might be missing, here’s a sample issue that everyone can download:
Legend Newsletter Sample

We also have an annual meet, generally in the summer or early fall, often in Indiana or Texas (although our West Coast members occasionally get together in California). Here’s a link to the 2012 Expo Photos (with Video and AP Story).

Members Only Pages

The following pages are for paid up Members only and contain detailed information about certain types of maps, including identification codes and tables showing years and states for which certain maps were issued.

The Legend

Members can download (as PDF files) issues 1 to 49 of the club’s quarterly magazine, The Legend. As well as providing links to each of these issues, the Legend download page provides a summary of contents of all issues, which is useful if you are trying to find a specific article in one of the printed magazines.

Oil Company, Officials and Other Commercial maps

The Petroleum Map Catalog Containing more detailed information than the US and Canadian Oil Company Lists (below), this section of the Members’ website seeks to list all known issues by brand, section and year, identifying the cartographer for each map. Currently it is restricted to North American issues (including Mexico). It has now been fully updated from the original paper catalog, incorporating several thousand additional maps discovered over the last 20 years and runs to 34 extensive pages, broken down by major brand or alphabetically for smaller names.
If you have an update to the catalog, then we’d love to hear about it – just send an e-mail to Stan DeOrsey and Ian Byrne.

There are also two comprehensive lists that can be downloaded in PDF format showing all American Oil Companies and Canadian Petroleum Companies that issued road maps. This includes first and last known years of issue for all companies and, in most case, a brief note about it.

Official Maps Master List This contains a separate page for each US state or Canadian Province, listing all known issues, including variations and map codes.

Commemorative Event Maps – a pictorial overview. Shows maps from the two New York World’s Fairs, plus other fairs such as the Great Lakes Exposition, the Golden Gate Exposition, Chicago’s Century of Progress and Hemisfair.

ACSC Map Codes As of 10-29-2012 – Developed by Brian Hatcher and Curtis Carrroll.  They have spent many hours working to compose this list so a BIG thank you.  Even though it still has some holes to fill, updates to the list will come as new data is obtained.

Highway History Sites

More information about specific cartographers

Interpreting Rand Codes There’s a lot more detail than just the date that can be found from a Rand McNally map code, and this page explains how it can be deciphered.

Master List Maps of J. Foster Ashburn & the Ashburn Map Co.

Maps of the Regal Map Company

Maps of the Western Map Company

Auto Clubs that Issued Maps

Master Automobile Club of Southern California
A page of zoomable 1919 maps showing routes to Stockton (where we held the 2012 West Coast RMCA swap meet) taken from a 1919 ACSC set of strip maps.

RMCA Club Information

Member Directory