Carleton's physical maps are stored on second Libe, near the east stairwell. Very roughly speaking, the paper maps that Carleton owns can be divided into two categories. (which also, not coincidentally, correspond with two of the other tabs on this guide)
These maps are published by the United States Geological Survey. They take up most of the rolling cabinets as well as the filing cabinets along the north wall of the maps alcove. While students in disciplines other than geology might find some of these materials to be of interest, many of the reports in the file cabinets are fairly esoteric. These maps include the rock stars of the Carleton map collection, the 7.5 minute US quadrangle maps, which are the best option for finding a large and detailed map of a small area.
The second category is much more varied and can best be defined as "Non-USGS" maps. These maps are stored towards the western end of the sliding cabinets (away from the stairwell). They can best be divided into two subcategories. One is the maps published by the Army Map Service. These are topographic and road maps much like the USGS maps, but with a more international scope. The other subcategory is the Gift Maps, which are maps that have been donated to Carleton. These maps are of many eras, languages and uses.
The last page on this guide, "Special Interest Maps," gives some suggestions of particular compelling or useful maps that might be ignored if they weren't specifically pointed out.