Skip to Main Content

Maps and Geospatial Resources: Home

Maps and Geospatial Resources Overview

This guide provides links to some key mapping tools. It is by no means complete or even representative of a serious map collection and service.

There are links to U.S. Government maps, historical map collections, online mapping databases, and some commercial products.

Forr serious mapping and GIS support you will need to consult researchers working with local materials and more powerful software tools.

Online Resources





  • Early World Maps
    A collection of early maps showing the evolution of both discoveries and cartographic techniques.
  • Library of Congress, American Memory: Map Collections: 1500-2004
    Focusing on Americana and "cartographic treasures," this large collection of maps covers the 16th century to the present day.
  • New York Public Library digital map collection
    The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division provides more than 20,000 public domain historical cartographic works as high resolution downloads.
  • Maps That Changed Our World 
    A digital interactive project that highlights a handful of fascinating maps created over the past several centuries.
  • ChronoAtlas 
    ChronoAtlas is a completely free and fully interactive historical atlas of the world. The site allows you to browse the entire globe at any point in history and see boundaries changing over time and cities and other features appearing on the map at the time they were founded. The site is also 100% interactive, you can contribute your own data: meaning your own cities, battles, and photos of historic places and events, and you can also draw boundaries of any historical kingdom you want, or edit those drawn by others if they are inaccurate.
  • NOAA Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map and Chart Collection
    A wide variety of maps and charts from the late 1700s to the present.
  • Historical County Boundary Maps
    Enter a PRESENT-day U.S. city, town, or county; you can even type a current day address or road name*. The year can be from the mid-1600s (depending on date of state formation) through the year 2000.
  • Historical World Boundary Maps
    Enter a PRESENT-day Place and a HISTORICAL Year as early as 2000 BC, then hit the "Go!" button. The place you type must be a PRESENT-day city and country; or a present-day address or road name* with city and country. The year must be from 2000 BC through 2008 AD (use negative years for BC, such as -200 for 200 BC).
  • Sanborn Maps of Illinois, 1867-1970
    Sanborn maps were originally created to help fire insurance companies determine the risks associated with insuring properties. These large-scale maps were drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch. Because the maps were created over a century, they are useful in charting the development of cities and towns over many years.
  • Digital Scholarship Project
    Interactive maps showing various historical changes ... populations, voting, railroads, canals, etc.
  • University of Chicago Press is pleased to present the first three volumes of the History of Cartography
  • ORBIS (The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman Worldan interactive model of the Roman Empire that "reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity," including movement by road, river, and sea with multiple travel modes available for each.

Local (Illinois)



  • Google Maps Gallery
    Popular maps demonstrating visual representations of thematic data. Also includes an explore option for browsing across Google subject facets (i.e. boundaries, culture & society, history, recreation, etc.) and a keyword search option.
  • Mapping Stereotypes
    Humorous look at global impressions by Alphadesigner (Yanko Tsvetkov)
  • Charles Booth's London Poverty Maps
    Search the catalogue of over 450 original notebooks from the Inquiry into Life and Labour in London (1886-1903), view 41 digitized notebooks and explore the London poverty maps.
  • William Smith's Geological maps of England (1815)
  • Mapping Views that Explain the World
    Washington Post article about World Views as shown by selected maps
  • New York Times: A Map of Every Building in America  -- search and zoom in on buildings.
  • Most Accurate Map Projection 
    AuthaGraph wins design award for accuracy
  • National Parks
    • ‚ÄčLibrary of Congress: Mapping National Parks documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. 
    • U.S.National Park Service: Find A Park is searchable by State, Topic, or Activity


U.S. Map

The Essential Geography of the United States of America is located in the East stairwell, near the copy room.

This unique hand-drawn map visually emphasizes the basic layout of our country, which can increase the awareness and understanding of basic U.S. geographical features. The special demarcations and features more easily allows users to visualize where the people are, where the landmarks are, etc. Everything on the Essential Geography is clearly visible to the "average user". For example, the Essential Geography represents only the principal cities and towns of a given area, and place name density reflects localized variations in population density. In addition, state borders do not overlap with place names, and important places (i.e museums, geographical features, etc.) are listed in the region.

More information about the creation of this map.

Copyright © 2013 | The Library at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655 | Phone (773) 298-3352 | Fax (773) 298-5231 | Email: | MyMail | MySXU