In addition to depicting the geography of countries and regions, maps serve two important functions for academic researchers. First, they are used by historians to portray events that have a geographic dimension, such as military battles, the paths of explorers, and the expansion of cities, territories, and empires. Second, maps are important tools for visualizing geographic variations in social, economic, and political variables. The print and electronic resources listed below offer maps that serve one or more of these purposes.
Geography reference books such as atlases offer collections of maps, often related to a particular theme or country. Many are available in the reference area at call number G, while the largest books are stored on the atlas stand at the edge of the reference area. Useful maps can also be found in regular reference books, such as encyclopedias and handbooks on your topic of interest.
Hammond World Atlas
Atlas Stand G1021 .H2665
Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World
Atlas Stand G1021 .T55
Atlas Stand N5300 .A77
Atlas of the Civil War
Atlas Stand G1201 .S5 W6
Atlas of the World's Religions
Ref G1046 .E4 A7
Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
Atlas Stand G1033 .B3
Harper Atlas of the Bible
Atlas Stand G2230 .H43
Historical Atlas [Shepherd]
Ref G1030 .S4
Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology
Ref G1046 .E15 P3
Times Atlas of the Second World War
Ref G1038 .T6
Times Atlas of World History
Atlas Stand G1030 .T54
Some atlases and geographical materials are held in other locations, such as the General Collection, the Oversize Area on the Lower Level, and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. To find relevant geographical resources regardless of where they are, do a Keyword search in the Geisel Library catalog for the topic or geographic entity of interest (for example, religion, politics, or Africa), and add a keyword such as map*, atlas, or geograph*. Note that the asterisk is a wildcard that searches for alternative word forms (e.g., "geograph*" will search the words geography, geographic, and geographical).
To find maps at Geisel Library, do an Advanced Keyword search in the library catalog for the name of the country or state of interest, and limit the Location to "Maps (Lower Level)". Maps are stored in the flat map cabinets on the Lower Level near the Government Documents area. Large maps produced by the US government are in their own cabinet. Use the links below to see Geisel Library's holdings of the following materials.
CIA Country Maps
These maps are split into two collections based on their size. Larger maps are in the first map cabinet (location = Maps (Lower Level)), while 8.5x11 inch maps are kept in binders in the Government Documents stacks (location = Government Documents).
Voting Ward Maps of New Hampshire
These maps of selected New Hampshire towns are available at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Please contact the Institute to access them.
As with most research materials, maps and other geographic resources are increasingly available on the Internet. Map websites frequently offer special features such as zooming capabilities, customization options, and links to text resources that provide context for the maps. If you use online maps in your paper or presentation, be sure to give credit to the website in your source list. The websites below are a sampling of the map resources now available online.
This free downloadable program uses satellite imagery, terrain maps, and geographic boundaries to help you explore the world. Type in street addresses or search for maps of specific geographic features or locations.
NASA Earth Observatory
Provides free satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet. The focus is on Earth's climate and environmental change. Obtain maps of atmospheric conditions, ocean and land temperature, vegetation, snow cover, and more.
This official US government website enables you to create customized US maps by adding layers representing a wide variety of variables, including environmental, demographic, and agricultural indicators. There are also several interesting pre-created dynamic maps available.
National Geographic Maps
A variety of maps, most of which are interactive. Use the Map Machine to create street and satellite maps, the Atlas Explorer to explore physical and political maps of the world, and EarthPulse to create thematic maps on topics like farming and natural resources.
North American Environmental Atlas
Produced by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (a joint initiative of the US, Canada, and Mexico), this online mapping tool enables you to produce maps of ecosystems, conservation areas, and the human impact on the environment in North America.
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection (Univ. of Texas)
This library's website offers thousands of downloadable regional and country maps. Also available are historical maps and thematic maps covering issues like energy usage, economic activity, land use, and population density.
Ancient World Mapping Center (Univ. of North Carolina)
The AWNC has provided a large "maps for students" page containing digitized reference maps related to ancient civilizations such as Greece, Egypt, and the Roman Empire. These maps can be reproduced and distributed for educational use, and can be downloaded in PDF or JPEG form.
Broer Map Library
Online historic maps of countries, cities, and US states, organized geographically. Included are standard relief maps, USGS topographical maps, and road maps. A zoom tool is available for focusing on specific areas of a map.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
This collection of over 20,000 digitized historical maps focuses on North and South American maps from the 18th and 19th centuries, but all regions of the world are represented. Open the LUNA map viewer and do a keyword search for maps of interest. A zooming tool is available.
Historic USGS Maps of New England & New York
This website from the University of New Hampshire offers 1,500 USGS topographic maps of New England and New York from the 1890s to 1950s. These maps can be viewed online or downloaded in JPEG format.
Historical Map Archive (Univ. of Alabama)
A collection of over 30,000 digitized maps organized by geographic region and theme, including maps of Biblical lands and Civil War battles. Maps can be viewed as JPEGs or using a special plug-in, both of which permit panning and zooming.
Library of Congress Map Collection
As part of its American Memory project, the Library of Congress has created this website of digitized historic maps, organized into browseable categories such as "Cultural Landscapes" and "Military Battles and Campaigns". It can also be searched by keyword, title, or subject.
Map History: The Gateway to the Subject
Part of the WWW Virtual Library, this website provides about 2,500 links to historic maps on the Internet, organized by geographic area and theme. To find historical maps for a particular state in the US, see the directory of links to historical maps by state.
Social Science Maps
American FactFinder (US Census Bureau)
Click on Maps to access two sets of maps. Thematic Maps allow you to view pre-created maps of socioeconomic indicators, or to create your own using data from the American Community Survey, US Census, Economic Census, and County Business Patterns. Reference Maps provide boundary maps of towns, congressional districts, and census tracts.
Carsey Institute (Univ. of New Hampshire)
This policy institute offers several sets of pre-made maps and charts. These include portrayals of demographic and socioeconomic indicators at the state and county level for northern New England, and socioeconomic data on the non-metropolitan (i.e., rural) areas of all 50 states.
This site offers numerous well-formatted charts and maps summarizing major Census demographic variables, at the national, state, and metro levels. Printer-friendly versions are available.
Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative
This project provides access to "cultural atlases" that portray national and regional cultures in map form. Many of the ECAI maps are interactive or animated. ECAI also provides links to maps produced by external organizations.
Global Distribution of Poverty (Columbia University)
A collection of online maps that vividly depict poverty rates, poverty density, and income inequality in developing nations. The maps are available in PDF format.
Mapping the Measure of America
This interactive map creation tool from the Human Development Project enables you to create maps of various health, education, and income indicators at the state or Congressional District level.
This web tool allows you to interactively generate maps for a variety of Census variables such as race, income, and education level, with detail down to the Census tract level. For Censuses dating back to 1940, most variables can be incorporated into maps for free; for earlier Censuses, a paid subscription is required.
World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance
This database contains country-by-country time series data on over 1,000 social, economic and demographic variables. After selecting countries, variables, and years, click the Map tab to generate a map of the selected data.