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University at Buffalo Libraries

Teaching With Maps


Below are links to map sources, resources, and sites with geographical data. Some links show examples of the types of materials that may be located on the World Wide Web. For quick-finding on this page, use your browser's "Find" command and enter terms.


University at Buffalo Map Collections


Locating Maps on the World Wide Web

Country Map Sites

  • See also: Thematic maps.
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection (University of Texas at Austin). Digitized collection (3,000+) of historic and contemporary maps. Many maps are U.S. government originals and may be downloaded and used without copyright restrictions. Also has links to websites for maps worldwide. Main map arrangement is by continent, further broken down into regional and city maps, among other categories. To jump to the starting point for maps by continent use the following links:
  • United Nations Cartographic Department Map Collection. Excellent source for maps of many countries and regions of the World. Emphasis on maps for mission-specific countries.
  • Maps of the World (One World, Nations Online). Good, clear maps of the World, continents, countries, etc. Also includes geographic and basic statistical data.
  • World Maps and Geographical data (UniMaps.com). Site has maps of continents, countries, and provides climate, flags, and other basic data. Maps include colonial, explorations, science and weather, among others. See examples:
  • Mapping Globalization (Princton, Univ. of Washington, UCLA).Globalization maps, texts, and geodata. Website goal: empirical work on globalization as widely accessible as possible. Contains an expanding set of resources for students, instructors, and researchers, and provides a forum for empirical research on globalization. Especially adding raw data and in the visualization of such data, including maps and animations.
  • World Atlas Political. Political map of the world, which allows the user to zoom in to any country.
  • World Political Maps. (Holt Reinhart). Simple maps of each continent and country.
  • World Sites Atlas. Interactive maps allow you to choose simple political and physical maps of countries, states, and provinces, along with basic geographical information.. Site links to geographical data and photos of chosen regions or locations. (Sample)
  • Map South Pacific. Islands and archipelago maps. Another site contains separate maps as well.
  • Map Library. Source of public domain basic map data concerning administrative boundaries in developing countries. The data is broken down into manageable chunks to make it easier to download. Has image files and ESRI-GIS useable files. Current coverage: Africa, Central America.
  • Relief Maps (Sadalmelik). Maps of countries in: Africa, Asia, Central & South America, Indonesia (some main islands), various Pacific islands and island groups, among others.
  • Asia-Related Maps (AskAsia.org from the Asian Society). A variety of thematic maps (e.g., relief, political, ethnic). Maps sorted for K-12 use (but also suitable for college), and by chronological period of history.
  • Intute Worldguide. Maps and satellite images for countries and features in those countries. Also includes geographical data and other materials.
  • Landsat Image Mosaic Of Antarctica (LIMA). USGS, NASA, NSF, and British Antarctic Survey site providing detailed images of the continent. Also has Educational Resources, including tours of Antarctica Research Stations.

Selected Maps From Other Sites

  • Afriterra. Cartographic library assembling and preserving original rare maps of Africa.
  • Botswana Maps. All kinds of maps ready to view.
  • Atlas of Canada. Provides political and other maps of Canada and its provinces and territories. Includes good outline maps as well. The National Atlas Collection contains: satellite images, photographs of various landscapes in Canada, maps, and links to additional images and maps.
  • Canadian Atlas (Canadian Geographic). Very good for Canadian data (plus maps from other parts of the World). More maps/data for Canada at the CG Mapping page.
  • Language Atlas of China. Maps and related data on language and dialects.
  • Languages and Dialects of China (Dartmouth U).
  • India Maps of India site. General, thematic, district maps. (Sample).
  • characteristics.
  • Italy, Virtual Map. Variety of maps by country, region, city.
  • Portugal ( Instituto Geográfico do Exército). Variety of maps from their army mapping department. Site is in Portuguese, but has an English translation page (if page does not come up, use English flag at top of main page). Maps are large scale, and very detailed.
  • Maps From ReliefWeb. Good, clear maps of major trouble spots, areas where relief operations are taking place, and other. Gives current names of cities and towns, and shows boundaries of neighboring countries.

United States Maps

See also: Map & Geography Government Resources for U.S. maps produced by government agencies.


United States: State Map Collections (Selected)

See also: Map & Geography Government Resources for U.S. maps by government agencies.

See also: Geography & Map Resources: Map Collections for state and regional collections.


Thematic and Special Use Maps

Thematic maps show specific, topical features, so that concepts or correlation between concepts can be visualized more readily. Often thematic maps show graphical representations of data, but many also show data in a standard map for ease of understanding. Some examples of thematic maps appear below. Also see Additional Examples.

  • World Mapper. Excellent source for maps of the World that show demographics, economics, and other statistical sets. Uses cartograms. 400+ maps that display data by varying the size of each country based on statistical data sets.
  • Buzztracker. See the daily news on a map. World map shows news hotspots using density by location/city. Great visualization tool, and you can read the top stories from major news sources world-wide.
  • Animated Maps. Using Flash or other software, these maps graphically demonstrate chronological concepts or other principles.
    • Invasive Species Animated Map. Zebra Mussels spread across American waterways.
    • South America boundaries, 1945-1999.
    • Centennia. Commercial, map-based guide to the history of Europe and the Middle East from the beginning of the 11th century to the present. It is a dynamic, animated historical atlas. Watch over 9,000 border changes occur as the map reshapes itself from one date to the next. Demo version available at this site.
    • Mapping History. Project to provide animated maps showing various themes in history.
  • Area Comparison Maps
  • Comparison maps show comparisons between two or more countries or places. For most area compaisons, use a search engine (e.g., Google) and serach for "comparison map" or "size comparison map" and add names of geographical features (e.g., country names). Here are a few samples of specific countries:
  • The Electronic Map Library. (California Geographical Survey Department of Geography California State University, Northridge). Demographic maps created from digital data on: Population and Race, Citizenship, Income, Poverty, Education. Includes a series of atlases currently being produced by individual authors or project groups. Examples are:
  • Eamus VRoma! a virtual tour of Rome, based on a clickable map of the city.
  • Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI). This site features cartographic tools for "visualizing and analyzing historical and cultural phenomena." Users may create "maps based on a theme, era and region." The "Projects" section provides examples, and the "Participating" section provides instructions. Also includes information about the underlying technology. Note: Access to some data sets requires a password. Sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Historical Atlas of Europe. Interactive atlas covers Europe, by century, from 1 A.D to 2000. Samples: Europe in Year 1; 1000; 1500; 2000; Rome Year 100.
  • Cartographical Curiosities at the Yale University Map Collection.
  • Genealogical Maps. GIS that uses current telephone directory data to produce a maps showing the distribution of surnames. Present countries: United States; Italy (enter surname push "Troga"). Samples of output: United States; Italy.
  • Geologic Maps of Pennsylvania (PA DEC).
  • Geologic Maps of Pennsylvania Counties (Penn State Libraries).
  • Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century. Series of maps relating to variety of themes, with additional tables of data. Some maps provide animated view over time periods (Example)
  • India, Historical Maps of. Includes historical maps of the country, cities, regions, and other maps. Also some historic world maps.
  • Ireland History in Maps. Great site for study of Ireland's past.
  • Latin American maps (Latin American Network Information Center, UT Austin). Historic and modern maps, mostly Latin and Central America, but many cover other countries and locations. Also has links to more collections.
  • Languages of the world (Ethnologue). Primarily annotated lists of languages and dialects (6,909 living languages), but includes country linguistic distribution maps.
  • Luso-Hispanic World in Maps (Library of Congress). Manuscript maps and atlases (pre- 1900).
  • Linguistic Maps. Extensive, detailed maps showing regions and countries, listing over 1,500 languages.
  • London, 1859. (Great site). During the time of Dr. John Snow (1813-58), the prominent epidemiologist and anesthesiologist. Created by the Dept. of Epidemiology University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Map is original, but is presented using software that lets you zoom in or move about the map.
  • Map of the Roman Empire. Good resources on each Roman province, tribal group, barbarian incursion, and more.
  • Maps Featured in News and Articles. Diverse range of thematic maps from printed and web periodicals.
  • Mount St. Helens. Maps and geographic data show visually how this volcano changed the landscape; even how it is still changing. This site has a wealth of maps. Additional maps appear under the heading Additional Maps and Graphics.
  • NOAA Historical Map and Chart Collection. Office of Coast Survey collection of historical maps and charts in digital form. The collection contains a wide variety of documents including nautical charts from the mid-1800's through the early 1900's, sketches of coastlines; a Civil War collection; a Washington, DC topographic series; and early exploration maps of the Pacific Northwest. These documents serve as excellent examples of 19th Century cartography. Sample sub-collection: Civil War Map Collection.
  • Interactive Nolli Map Website. "The 1748 Map of Rome, by Giambattista Nolli is widely regarded by scholars as one of the most important historical documents of the city ever created. This project is a collaborative exploration of the exquisite Nolli engraving, through its historic significance and contemporary application."
  • Resource Atlas of Canada. An interactive map building system that includes data on natural, economic, and human resources. (Government of Canada). (Still in progress.)
  • Silk Road Atlas (Silk Road Seattle, Daniel C. Waugh, University of Washington). More than just the trade routes, this shows maps of the various empires, cities, dynastic holdings, etc. Excellent site.
  • Stone Circles (Megalithic sites, etc.). Interactive maps for locating sites, photographs, and data on stone circles in the British Isles, and Brittany.
  • WORLDTIME® An interactive world atlas (shows daytime/nighttime graphically), information on local time as well as sunrise and sunset times in several hundred cities, and a database of public holidays worldwide.
  • Transportation Map Collections
  • See also: Maps Online: Digitized and Electronic Map Resources.

Outline Maps


GIS Maps and Sites

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow the user to create custom maps based on a variety of data sets. There are also databases of Map & Satellite Images.

What is GIS? (USGS). Good introduction to GIS, including: data input and how data layers are shown. This is a good page to show someone who wants to understand GIS. Also see: GIS Glossaries for a selection of glossaries/dictionaries of GIS and Cartographic terms.

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Collection of links to databases that can be manipulated to produce maps on demand for specific topics. Use for specialized or detailed maps.
  • Graphical Locater Home Page. Primarily for data on hydrologic regions (HUC), but also has data for most features. Using a map, locate geographical features and find coordinates, hydrologic data on the feature (and USGS topo map info).
  • Historical County Boundaries of United States. Includes GIS data files.
  • New York State Data for GIS. Data sets of the NYS Museum site. Download and use data sets with ArcInfo and ArcView software (that you provide).
  • Perseus Atlas Project. A GIS for building and developing maps.
  • TIGER Map Service (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system). (U.S. Bureau of the Census). Fuller description appears above.
  • TopoZone Web topographic map made with data from the USGS to create the Web's first interactive topo map of the entire United States. Similar to the TerraServer.

Search engines

Use search engines to locate maps and related materials. Maps can be found almost anywhere but these are some websites that may have the most relevant to your needs include: Government sites (any country, state, municipality), tourism sites, university or commercial sites, personal pages.

Government & Commercial Map Producers/Distributors. Find maps and cartographic data for purchase.


Geography Resources

(Additional to those already noted).

Here are listed a selection of links to geography, cartographic terms, basics of map use, and other helpful resources.


Teaching Resources and Other Materials