Internet Mapping Services

An Internet Mapping Service allows government and other agencies to provide access to maps and other data  through a web site. This information can be viewed online, added to a map as a service, or often downloaded as data layers for other maps.


The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has produced the Atlas of Urban Expansion which provides information about the geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion and its key attributes in cities the world over.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project is the most comprehensive public collection of political violence and protest data for developing states (currently Africa and South Asia).

Federal Government Mapping Services

Investigate census data easily via American Factfinder, provided by the Census Bureau.  The American Community Survey includes a Data page with connections to many tools and apps.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers many data sets and tools related to economics and jobs on a regional and national level.  OnTheMap allows easy analysis of economic profiles.

The Centers for Disease Control have a Data and Statistics page which has survey data regarding various conditions and a number of data visualization and access tools.

Everything you could want to know about education is collected by and available at the National Center for Education Statistics, including a set of online data tools.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics includes statistics about crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems.  Their data sources are listed here.

The Department of Homeland Security produces the annual Yearbook of Immigration Statistics and data tables on related topics.

Lots of interesting statistics from the IRS at the Tax Statistics page.  The Social Security Administration has a disability-related Research and Data department.

The USDA has a data page listing half a dozen different research services, including the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics tells you all about various modes of transportation, including a Geospatial Portal with mapping apps and an Information Gallery.

The USGS manages the National Map — “the nation's topographic map for the 21st century.”

State and Metropolitan Mapping Services

Almost every state and large metropolitan area now has an internet mapping service to provide public access to geospatial data collected at the taxpayers’ expense. Your best approach is to search (for example, using Google or other search engine of your choice) for the phrase “GIS” and whatever state or locality you are interested in.

For example, a search for “GIS and Chicago” will result in (among others) the City of Chicago GIS page. If you perform the same search with the search terms “GIS and Boston,” you will discover that all Boston information is simply part of Massachusetts GIS, a state agency (though you might also want to check out the blog Bostonography).   Some state departments might have their own services, such as the NYS DEC Mapping Gateway.  Some web sites develop as part of specific policy initiatives, such as Data-Driven Detroit, the Syracuse Community Geography project,  or The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. As a final example, here is an entire page of IMS sites found by looking for information on New York City and GIS.

Thematically-Related Mapping Services

One may also find a wealth of information by looking for mapping resources related to a particular event or theme. For example, here is a page of resources on Hurricane Katrina and Other Natural Disasters.  And here is a page of resources related to the Adirondack Mountains and the Adirondack Park.


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Last updated: July 3, 2019

Summer 2020 Construction
Burke Library

Summer 2020 Construction

Burke Library will close to the public beginning Monday, May 18, 2020, for a complete reconstruction of the first floor and front entrance. 

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