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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS: Find Maps & Data

How to Search for Maps & Data

There is an abundance of data available online and in physical form. The trick is to find where where it is housed, and whether you can use it. Use the table below to generate a list of search terms related to your research, and use it to run topic, author, organization and other types of search strategies.

Search Facet Information Examples of Search Terms
Topic Consider broader, narrower, and related concepts. Silk Road, Asian trade routes, Eastern Silk Road, trade routes, Asian, Eastern, Dunhuang
Temporal Consider broader, narrower, and related concepts. archaeological, antiquities, historical, "old world," "Middle Ages," modern, 21st century
GIS Use multiple search terms and strategies to locate relevant sources.  GIS, geographic, spatial, geospatial, geohistory, geohumanities, geodata, spatial humanities, digital humanities
Geography Use gazetteers to find authoritative and standardized place names, variant place names, broader and narrower place names. You can also use OCLC's mapFAST to identify geographic subject headings for books.Use OCLC's FAST Linked Data tool to identify subject headings (geographic, event, and corporate) for books. Appalachia, Appalachian mountain range, Alabama, Kentucky, New York, Allegany
Researchers The information you're looking for may be embedded within a book, article, or available directly from the researcher. Which names populate your search results? Consider searching for and using secondary sources, and contacting researchers directly. Karen Kemp, Michael F. Goodchild, Joseph J. Kerski
Organizations The information you're looking for may be embedded within a book, article, or available directly from an organization. Which organizations populate your search results? Consider searching for and using secondary sources, and contacting organizations directly. Organizations may be governmental, nonprofit, commercial, and research centers. United Nations, Stanford University Libraries, Esri, Australian Government Geoscience
Source Type Some search tools will allow you to limit search results to specific file types.However, data isn't always readily available and you may need to take extra steps to request data from a person or organization. map, data, data set, dataset, lidar or LAS (.las), raster, vector, shapefiles (.shp), TIFF (.tif), KML (.kml or .kmz)

 

California Data

National Data

International Data

Historical Data

While other sites may provide current and historical GIS data, the following resources focus primarily on historical data.

Additional Data Sources