The library's collection includes print maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, maps in print books and ebooks such as atlases, as well as maps available online through library databases. This guide also includes links to map, GIS resources, geospatial data, and mapping tools available online through other libraries, government agencies, or other organizations. Use the tabs above for search strategies and recommended resources.
Not finding what you need? Librarians are available by online chat, email, or Zoom appointment to help you find and use maps and GIS resources.
If you need more help with your research, contact a librarian by chat, phone, email, or in person, or explore the library's online tutorials.
Image: Portion of a Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District System Map.
This guide is designed for students who need maps and/or geographic information systems (GIS) resources -- or help using them -- for courses in Geography, Geology, or any other discipline in which maps are used. Do you need a map of trade routes in the Middle Ages for a History class? A map of current political redistricting for a Politics class? A map of areas affected by drought for an Environmental Science class? Do you have a map, but are not sure how to read it? Do you need to create your own map? This guide can help you get started.
According to Merriam-Webster, a map is "a representation usually on a flat surface of the whole or a part of an area."
Reference maps represent the physical features of a space, such as roads, rivers, mountains, cities, and borders.
Thematic maps communicate the relationship between a particular topic and an area of physical space, such as where particular languages are spoken or crops are grown, or how the migration patterns of a particular species have changed over time.
Watch the video from Esri (the creators of ArcGIS software) for a brief explanation of geographic information systems.