The Map Collection consists of manuscript maps, reproduced maps, blueprints, lithographs, engravings, blue line prints, tracings, soil surveys, geological surveys, culture maps, road maps,  railroad maps, etc. These maps are quite diverse in size, condition, and quality, both of the work involved in the map's creation and in the medium it is on.

Copies of the maps, unless restricted by copyright or donor, are available upon request. Reproduction costs vary according to the type of copy requested and the size of the map. The Archives staff can quote the cost of reproducing any particular map. Many of these maps are also free to view and download via the North Carolina Maps Project, a digital collection devoted to sharing maps from the State Archives of North Carolina, the Outer Banks History Center, and the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Map Collection is indexed in the online catalog. In determining what type of items were reported as appearing on the maps, it was first determined what the maps were created for. Therefore, geodetic survey maps were not indexed as showing the location of churches, although they may show churches. Population figures, county Boards of Commissioners, etc. were also not reported since such information is best derived at from other sources. For county maps, individual towns, roads, railroads, city halls, rivers, streams, etc. were not reported since more detailed maps will be indexed to this level. When looking for a particular item, check first the maps created for a particular purpose that relates to what you are looking for. For example, town maps for local sewer systems, specific businesses, voting precincts; railroad maps for specific railways or stations; geodetic surveys for triangulation stations.

Some examples of the items not reported at all although they may be marked on the maps are:  armories, bathing beaches, brickyards, country clubs, farms, garbage dumps, gas or oil tanks, golf courses, hotels or motels, open air theatres, patrol stations, power plants, radio stations, research stations, scenic sites, seasonal dwellings or industries, underground cable lines, water tanks, or weight stations.