Internet Resources for Maps & Map Making

Resources compiled by Carol Gersmehl, Monroe Community College; Internet Resources for Maps & Mapping—Examples November 2007 with July 2008 & December 2008 updates - -


The U.S. Census provides ready-made maps about counties of the U.S. :
This is a great introduction to census maps.
Topics: population, diversity, race, and Hispanic origin (by counties)

Use to create thematic maps using Census data from year 2000:
“American Factfinder” provides data about the U.S.. It steps you through creating a map. If you want to look at all of the U.S., then you would map data for “counties.” If you want to look at a smaller portion of the U.S., you might map data for “tracts” or “block groups":
Overview of American Factfinder:
Thematic & reference maps:

Use historical U.S. census data to create maps:
Historical Census Browser. This site provides data for states and for counties—for every decade all the way back to 1790.

Find aerial photos and topographic maps for local areas in the U.S.
Terraserver and Topozone: --for aerial photos and topographic maps. Generally, choose a small area (part of a city or part of a county) and zoom in.

Use the National Atlas to find printable maps or to select layers for your own map (technical).
“Printable Maps”
mainly thematic maps
reference maps (with or without labels)
“Map Maker” Section Choose one state or a group of several states. Note “Redraw Map.” for download

Find maps and data about agriculture in the U.S. (Census of Agriculture, NASS) has nice already-made maps (e.g., about milk cows) for data for data download for experienced GIS

Digital atlases provide ready-made maps. (William A. Bowen California Geographical Survey) We can talk about the use of circles and the choice of colors on these maps. Notice that there are separate maps for total number of persons vs. percentages of persons. maps about census data for New York City maps about census data for Washington, DC maps about census data (ancestry) for U.S. counties

Find data and maps about religion in U.S. Choose maps and reports about religious groups. provides general overview and links

Other U.S. government websites (mortality, environmental quality, watersheds) has already-made maps about diseases and types of injury from the Centers for Disease Control - Atlas of United States Mortality
EPA Enviromapper includes NYC air sampling data after 9/11
EPA Surf Your Watershed includes “locate your watershed”

Find maps in the Library of Congress Map Collection. There are 1000’s of maps. Search by keyword or choose a section.
This has many current and historic maps for the U.S. and also for other parts of the world.

WORLD (Also look into Google Maps and Google Earth!)

- has unusual type of map (cartogram); topics include present-day and also some historical:
Population in Year 1 and
Wealth in Year 1

World Resources Institute has maps and also data lists: for example

Columbia University, CIESIN, has maps:

CIA Factbook is a basic source for reference maps and comparative data.
Choose a country (e.g., Afghanistran) and you will see a map followed by much data and description. OR – Do not choose a country and then click on “Reference Maps” to see maps of world regions.

Globalis has many map layers about countries and world regions. Start in upper left--choose a theme under Thematic Maps.
You will see maps about the entire world, or at top left, choose “Zoom to” to select an area.
Choose map topics under either “Statistics” or “Thematic maps.” Be sure to “Update map.”

Le Monde Diplomatique has already-made maps about issue-oriented and controversial topics.

Geography Network is an ESRI interactive mapping site where you can “Search” for maps. You can launch ArcExplorerweb from here.  Using this can be more complicated, but is worth learning about.

Ready-made maps from National Geographic: has “starter” lesson ideas
GOOD: Human footprint

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection has many current and historic ready-made maps. Choose from a list of continents or from current interest topics. provides historical maps

UNESCO World Heritage has locator map, photos, and descriptions of important historic places. Zoom in and move around on the map to see locations of important places. Important historical places are listed within countries.

USGS Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change (satellite images) has image and article about each yellow dot.

Various historic maps for U.S. and world David Rumsey map collection provides 1000’s of historic maps, BUT
technology and sometimes GIS experience may be necessary. is a searchable site designed for teachers. has dozens of links on the left side

World Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images shows landforms and land cover. COOL! Choose a region within the world or the U.S. shows contents of “The Electronic Map Library” by Wm. Bowen

GEsource is recommended by librarians for geography-related maps, data, and articles. summarizes CIA Factbook for countries
At top, for “Country,” please select country/region.” Then press “Go.” Choose topic and date range. Compare 4 countries at a time. has city maps (satellite images) Use “keyword search” to find maps and articles.