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Maps and GIS

How to find and use maps and other geospatial resources at Pratt and beyond.

New York Public Library: Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division

The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division is one of the world's premier map collections in terms of size, scope, unique holdings, diversity, and intensity of use. The collection includes more than 433,000 sheet maps and 20,000 books and atlases published between the 15th and 21st centuries.

The New York Public Library’s Map Division has released more than 20,000 historic maps as high resolution downloads under a Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Their collection is especially good for New York City and New York State maps. The easiest place to search for the maps is through the NYPL’s Digital Collections portal

You can learn more about the NYPL's Map Division and the resources available to you here.

David Rumsey Map Collection

The David Rumsey Map Collection is a rich source for images of historical maps. The private collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America. Over 53,000 digitized maps are available online. 

The David Rumsey Map Collection recently added a new feature to search for text within maps. This capability opens up new research possibilities. Learn more about using this feature with the Guide to Searching and Annotating Text on Maps or watch the video below.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has the biggest and most comprehensive collection of cartographic materials in the world: “over 5.2 million maps, including 80,000 atlases, 25,000 geospatial datasets, 6,000 reference works, numerous globes and three-dimensional plastic relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats,” according to their website. The Librar of Congress’ collections include maps and geospatial information about the United States and the rest of the world. Many of the Library of Congress’ collections have been scanned and are available for free online.

The best way to search the collection is from can limit your search to items that are available online, and there are good options to refine your search – original formats, date, sites and collections, contributors, subject, locations, and languages. The scanned maps can be downloaded in several formats and sizes, and researchers can zoom in on the website to see fine details.

In addition to searching the map collection, researchers can look for maps through Library of Congress' subject guides

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, UT Austin

The University of Texas’ Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection offers an extensive list of maps available online including:

Topographic maps
Historical maps
Polar and ocean maps
Weather maps
Outline and unlabeled maps

The National Map - USGS

The U.S. Geological Society’s National Map is a collaborative program among USGS and Federal, State, and local government agencies to offer topographic information for the United Sates. The National Map includes aerial photographs, elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, and land cover. Within The National Map’s viewer, you can  bring in other types of geographic information, or you can add National Map data into a Geographic Information System.

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