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Maps, GIS, and Spatial Data  

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Related Guides

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    This guide will help you learn how to conduct research, how to write well, and how to avoid plagiarism by citing your sources.

Maps and Atlases

Map Checkout
Most maps are available for check out and for inter-library loan to other libraries.
Atlases are for in-house use only.

  • Aerial Photographs
    The Library has a modest collection of historical aerial photographs covering the metropolitan Atlanta area. Years covered are 1967, 1972, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996, and 1997.
    Oversized Atlas G1314 .A8 A4 (2nd Floor East)
    Oversized Atlas G1314 .A8 G46 (2nd Floor East)
  • Aeronautical Charts (FAA)  
    Free digital aeronautical charts from the FAA.
    Recent paper editions are in the vertical Aeronautical Chart Cabinet on the 2nd Floor East.
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    NOAA’s 1,000-plus U.S. coastal and Great Lakes nautical charts are viewable here on-line. Each chart is up-to-date with the most recent Notices to Mariners corrections. Use these on-line charts as a ready reference or planning tool. Use NOAA’s printed or digital charts to navigate with on your voyage.
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps  
    Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps for Georgia Towns and Cities, 1884-1922 consists of 4,445 maps by the Sanborn Map Company depicting commercial, industrial, and residential areas for 133 municipalities.


Spatial and Attribute Data Resources for GIS at Georgia Tech

The Georgia Tech library has several print resources for practical GIS and remote sensing applications. Most of these materials can be found on the 3rd floor West at the call numbers G70.2 and G70.3. Useful subject headings include "geographic information systems", "remote sensing", and "geodatabases"

Trade Journals 
Several trade journals are available including GeoWorld and GeoSpatial Solutions. Trade journals provide overviews of current practices in GIS, concrete application examples, and resources for data and software. The most recent editions can be found with Current Periodicals on the 2nd floor East.

Researching GIS
GeoBase and GeoRef are the launching point for conducting a review of the scholarly literature related to GIS. Scholarly journals in the field include Transactions on GIS and the Journal of Geographical Systems The library catalog will also be helpful in identifying monograph holdings.

Data Sets
There are several sources of geospatial and attribute data, including your own data sets, government and commercial resources. The links to the left will break down several data set sources by scope: national, state, and international. Be aware that while many data sets are free, several, including some federal data sets, are only available for a fee. As a Federal Depository Library, the GT Library also receives some GIS data on CD and DVD, while several key sources are mentioned, the library catalog will provide a full listing of a variety of reports and data series from several federal agencies.

Attribute data sets are also very useful, particularly in thematic mapping and data analysis. Attribute data might not be available in a spatial form, but many federal sources will include FIPS codes for information captured at a geographic entity like the county level. These codes will allow you to join this attribute data to existing spatial data.

When obtaining GIS data, remember that different agencies and companies will use different protocols for creating and making the spatial data available. The GIS software that you are using may be able to read some data formats and may be able to import others. Be aware of the metadata that accompanies the dataset which can help you determine the sources of the data, copyright restrictions, and the recency of the data. When combining data from multiple sources also be aware of the following:

  • Does the scale of the data match your other data sets?
  • Does the coordinate system of the data match?
  • Are the data projected in the same way?
  • What level of summary data is available (e.g. county, state, etc)?

Learning GIS
There are several web based tools for learning GIS.   A great list is available here.
Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning also offers several courses in GIS.

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