Map & Geography Related Online Resources

Until further notice, access to the Map Library is limited to library staff only.

For access to many of our maps, aerial photographs, and other physical materials, please search for the item in Libraries search. Sign in and place a “Get It” request and you can pick up items at one of our four open buildings — Wilson, Walter, Health Sciences, and Magrath libraries — or have them delivered to your office or residence hall.

For access to non-circulating materials or for in-depth research assistance, please send an email to

While not exhaustive, the list below highlights many of the map and geography-related resources that the University Libraries license for use by faculty, staff and students.

Licensed Online Tools (UMN Login Required)

ArcGIS Online (University of Minnesota Organizational Account)

ArcGIS Online allows users to create web maps, publish services, geocode location data, perform data analysis, and much more. Please contact the U-Spatial Office to request access to the organizational account:

China Geo-Explorer II

China Geo-Explorer is an intelligence spatial data service offered by the University of Michigan China Data Center, in collaboration with the All China Market Research Co., Ltd and the State Key Laboratory for Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) of Wuhan University. It offers China demographic and economic data, maps, charts and reports in the web-based delivery system. With this spatial intelligence, users are able to make rapid, accurate spatial decisions with greater confidence for regional planning, business investment, population, housing, environmental assessment, public health and many other spatial applications. Data sources in this database includes demographic and business information for all PRC geographies, including 31 Provinces, 345 Prefecture Cities, 2,873 Counties, and over 50,000 Townships.

Data-Planet Statistical Datasets

Provides access to statistical data produced by U.S. Federal agencies, States, private organizations, and major intergovernmental organizations. There are up to 2 billion charts, maps, views, rankings, time series and tables available for use in the Data-Planet repository. Data-Planet Statistical Datasets offers powerful capabilities to compare & contrast multiple data series, perform statistical calculations on the data, and customize output views.

Many of the data sets are available for download as GIS data -- look for the "Map" icon to identify this functionality.

Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 : Minnesota

Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This collection covers Minnesota towns and cities from 1867-1970.

East View LandScan

Allows quick and easy assessment, estimation, and visualization of populations-at-risk. Demographic (age, race, sex) and socioeconomic characteristics are integrated with population data to allow integration with risk and impact assessment models. Critical component of emergency planning and management, rapid risk assessment, evacuation planning, consequence assessment, mitigation planning and implementation.

Esri Business Analyst Online

Market analysis database for analyzing consumers, businesses, and other economic indicators by location. Research the lifestyles, buying behavior, and businesses in a given market area. A useful resource for business planning and site evaluation. Contact the U-Spatial Office to request a personal account and activation link:


EVGeoCloud allows users to create custom maps and analyses using data from a variety of GIS datasets, including topographic maps and population data. Includes tools to analyze raster data (when available), and to query and download data.

Data sets currently available in EVGeoCloud:
De Agostini WING -- world dataset of 406 indicators grouped in 27 themes and 5 main topics; LandScan Global Archive (2000-2012) -- World population density, demographic data and boundaries; Karta Mira -- Digital version of Soviet world maps (1964-1976) at 1:2,500,000 scale; Raster versions of topographic maps -- Ethiopia 1:250,000 scale; Burundi 1:50,000 scale; Haiti 1:25,000 scale; Paraguay 1:100,000 scale.

Fire Insurance Maps online (FIMo): Minnesota

Fire Insurance Maps online (FIMo) is a research portal to find and view high-definition, color fire insurance Maps, real estate atlases, plat books, and other historical maps showing building structures, building construction details, property ownership, property uses, and other information. The maps in the collection include publications by Sanborn, Perris, Hexamer, Whipple, Baist, Bromley, Hopkins and others.


PolicyMap is a web-based online data and mapping application that provides access to over 15,000 indicators related to demographics, housing, crime, mortgages, health, jobs and more. Data is available at all common geographies (address, block group, census tract, zip code, county, city, state, MSA) as well as unique geographies like school districts and political boundaries. Data comes from both public and proprietary sources. A complete list of data available can be found in the data directory.


SimplyAnalytics, formerly SimplyMap, creates thematic maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data for the United States. Click on Help to watch training videos. "Sign in as a guest" if you do not wish to register for a personal account. Personal accounts save your preferences, reports, and maps. 

Social Explorer (University of Minnesota Licensed Access)

Created by Queens College, City University of New York, and partnering with the University of Minnesota's own National Historical Geographic Information System, this subscription edition of Social Explorer offers the ability to create customized maps and reports of demographic, housing, and employment patterns throughout the United States using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Licensed Article Databases


Index to the worldwide literature of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, paleontology, hydrogeology , hydrology, and mineralogy. Publication types covered include journal articles, books, conference proceedings, government publications, theses, reports, and maps.

Web of Science (ISI)

Indexes over 11,000 international journals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

Freely Available Online Tools

ArcGIS Online

The free version of ArcGIS Online allows users to create web maps, geocode location data (with limitations), and more. Users can add web map services, Esri services, or upload shapefiles and CSVs with location information. Maps can be saved and shared easily.

Hennepin County Property Map

Optional map layers include parcel information (ownership, lot dimensions, tax information, etc.), recent aerial imagery and oblique aerial imagery. Includes option to print map.

Minnesota DNR: Landview

Optional map layers include canoe routes, state trails, parks, forests, wildlife refuges, roads, water, Lake Superior Coastal Management photos and aerial imagery (including historic imagery from the 1930s and 1940s for most counties). Aerial imagery can be saved to your computer. Includes option to download displayed map as a PNG image file. 

Ramsey County: MapRamsey

Base map options include current & historic aerial imagery, land use, glacial geology, wetlands, parks, soils, watersheds, flood zones, school districts and zip codes. Optional map layers include bridges, depth to groundwater, highways, MnDOT traffic cameras, parcel data, schools, building footprints, railroads and block-level demographics. Includes option to export map as a PDF.

Social Explorer (Limited Public Access)

Created by Queens College, City University of New York, and partnering with the University of Minnesota's own National Historical Geographic Information System, this subscription edition of Social Explorer offers the ability to create customized maps and reports of demographic, housing, and employment patterns throughout the United States using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.