The map department holds a large variety of cartographic materials. Special foci of the collection are:
- Topographic maps and map series from all periods and countries, among them original hand drawings of the Prussian surveys
- Atlases, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries
- All types of city maps from around the world
- Views and vedute until the middle of the 20th century
- Military maps of the map holdings of the Prussian Great General Staff which was dissolved in 1919
- Globes with a focus on German products between 1800 and 1950
- Special cartographic forms like reliefs, wall maps, print media or tactile maps, etc.
- Literature on cartography and related aspects from history to geographic information systems: more than 35,000 books, 4,500 of which are on open shelves in the maps reading rooms.
The department holds in trust the old map collection and the library of the Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin (comprising ca. 15,000 maps and 40,000 books published before 1939) and the archive of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kartographie (DGfK). The depot library of the DGfK has become part of the holdings, and the map department also holds literary estates and collections from other institutions.