I met yesterday with Paul Cote, the GSD GIS (Geographic Information Systems) guru – who has developed an amazing GIS Manual. The Harvard Library system also offers a very basic GIS tutorial and an introduction to GIS. GIS is new to me – until now I have mapped used Adobe Illustrator – which I think made a proper geographer like Paul cringe a bit.
According to Wikipedia: A geographic information system (GIS), geographical information system, or geospatial information system is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographically referenced data. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis and database technology. GIS may be used in archaeology, geography, cartography, remote sensing,land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management, precision agriculture, photogrammetry, urban planning, emergency management, environmental contamination, landscape architecture,navigation, aerial video and localized search engines.
Paul uses Arc GIS. ArcGIS is a Geographic Information System package developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). While a student license appears to be affordable it is only valid for one year – meaning if I went that route I would have to upgrade to a professional license in a year which looks to be $3,000+. The alternative: Open Source GIS Viewers/Software
Online Mapping Resources
Maryland Global Land Cover Facility
The GLCF is a center for land cover science with a focus on research using remotely sensed satellite data and products to assess land cover change for local to global systems.
The historical map collection has over 27,800 maps and images online.
Harvard Geospatial Library
The Harvard Geospatial Library offers search tools for finding geographic data, GIS data for download, and on-line geographic data exploration tools.
National Geographic Map Machine
This site facilitates full color mapping of world to street level geography. Users can also view and print historical and atlas maps, flags, facts, and even portions of Mars.
US Census Bureau American Fact Finder
Here users can produce basic thematic maps using 2000 US Census data. Users can also download the tabular information or map image.
Earth Science and Map Library at the University of California at Berkeley Bodleian Library
Cornell Map Collection
University of Florida
James Ford Bell Library’s Historical Map Collection at the University of Minnesota
Library of Congress Map Collections
University of Minnesota Borchert Map Library
New York Public Library Map Division
University of Texas Map Collection