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Library Research Guides

Geospatial Data Resources

for SNRE 531

If your data doesn't exist?

Sometimes your data just won't exist, or will be prohibitively expensive to purchase - in that case you might need to create your own data.  Here's a guide on how to look for maps that might have what you need in paper form.

Searching For Maps

When searching for a map, it is helpful to keep a few questions in mind:

  • Do you prefer a paper or electronic resource? (Keep in mind that paper maps do not circulate, but they can be scanned or photographed).
  • Does the map have unique qualities that would make it easily searchable?
  • What type of data does the map contain?  What will you be using it for?
  • Do you want a current or historical map?
  • How detailed do you want the map to be?

It is helpful to consider different ways that an area could be viewed or described.

For example, you need a map of Uttar Pradesh province in India, consider its location and any maps that would contain the province in whole or in part, including maps of:

  • The World
  • Eastern Hemisphere
  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Asia
  • South Asia/The Indian Subcontinent
  • India
  • Northern India
  • North Central India
  • The Himalayas
  • The Indo-Gangetic Plain
  • The Ganges River
  • The Vindhya Range
  • Uttar Pradesh

If you want an even larger scale map, consider regions within the province, such as North, South, East, or West Uttar Pradesh, administrative divisions, cities or natural features. 


The principle is the same for any other map: if you cannot find it at first, do not get discouraged!  Imagine that you are using a web mapping service, and mentally zoom in or zoom out to find the materials you need.