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New York Tech Returns: What to know about using NYIT Libraries for Summer 2022. View the latest information

Images, Video, and Audio: Maps & GIS

About Geographic Information and Technologies

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Technologies

  • Produce maps in order to integrate, manipulate, and analyze spatial data and related statistical or descriptive data. GIS provides tools for integrating, querying, and analyzing a
  • wide variety of data types; scientific and cultural data, satellite imagery, and aerial photography, as well as original data you collect. This guide provides a sample of resources loosely classified geographically and thematically for common information needs.
  • Contact the Library for help finding GIS.
  • LINK to the Locating GIS Slides - Fall 2021

What are the building blocks of a Geographic Information System?

1. Numerical Algorithms - enable you to assign data to a geographic reference.
2. Statistics. Data sets visualized with layers and oriented geographically.

3. Optimization: The ability to orient the GIS to a particular area of research. 

LINK to a larger explanation of GIS. 

We can help you:

  • Locate, interpret, and visualize GIS data.
  • Incorporate GIS into your projects.
  • Access Open Source Internet Mapping.

Adapted from Boland, Maeve A. "Geographic Information Systems." Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics,edited by Carl Mitcham, vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 856-857.Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 26 Sept. 2017

Social Explorer

  • Sign Up for an Individual Account
  • Create and customize thematic and interactive maps; Navigate current and historical demographic data and survey; Create data reports based on historical and modern US census data at all geographic levels 

Getting Started with Social Explorer

The fastest way to get started with Social Explorer is to use the Maps console.  

  1. Click on Maps at the top of the screen
  2. Select Start Now.  You'll see a default map of the United States
  3. Use the search box to search for a place by name ex: Nassau County.  
  4. Pull down Show Data By and change it to your geography (county, place, census tract, etc.). Place refers to both cities and unincorporated areas.
  5. Select the Change Data button
  6. Browse by Category or Survey
    1. Browse by Category (tutorial): Use the slider bar to select a Census year and category.  Not all categories are available for each census year as some questions are added or dropped from survey to survey
    2. Browse by Survey (tutorial): Shows a list of all available data variables by Census year  
  7. Enhance a presentation or "story" by adding multimedia elements.  Click "Tell a Story" in lower right corner.  See the Creating a Project Tab for more information.
  8. Invite Group Members to Collaborate by Share > Email Collaborators.

Thematic GIS & Maps

Map Visualization and Spatial Anaylsis

City Data and GIS

Open Government Data initiatives promote "transparency, accountability, and value creation by making government data available to all" ( Evaluate datasets found through open data portals as you would information sources. Máchová, Hub, Lnenicka recommend searchers consider the following criteria when selecting and searching government data:

- Are data sets organized in understandable categories?
- A complete list of datasets.
- Is there someone to contact to request a specific data set.
- Can you search according to category, publisher, format?
- Can you filter data sets in order to limit what you need to extract?
- Can you process data sets in a common structure such as CSV, JSON, or RDF?
- Do you need to register an account in order to access datasets?

Máchová, R., Hub, M., & Lnenicka, M. (2018). Usability evaluation of open data portals: Evaluating data discoverability, accessibility, and reusability from a stakeholders’ perspective. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 70(3), 252-268.

Historical Maps

Typically large-scale maps, dating back to the 1500s, historical maps serve as primary research artifacts.
Fire Insurance Maps cover the United States, Canada, and Mexico from 1800s to the present and About the Sanborn Maps at the Library of Congressdepicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some twelve thousand cities and towns in the

Center for Brooklyn History - Map Collections


Journals on GIS and Geospatial Technology

Locating GIS Slides - Fall 2021

Maps Collections with GIS visual analysis tools

United States


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