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Maps! Maps! Maps!


By popular request, we use these pages to list Web sites which provide interactive, on-line or downloadable maps, in various formats (usually .GIF or .JPG), many of which are available copyright free. Many of the maps are derived from the USA National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA - formerly the Defense Mapping Agency) Digital Chart of the World which covers the whole world at a scale of 1 : 1,000,000. DCW maps are available per region and per country, showing various themes, including political boundaries, land use and demographic information. Many of the maps are surprisingly current, with data available from as recently as 1996 and 1997. Check them out!

We also provide links to interesting new Web sites at national and regional level, both in and outside Europe, which demonstrate the power of GI when made available via the Web, whether to better inform a nation's citizens of basic information they have a right to know - or for environmental monitoring - or travel planning - or simply to satisfy curiosity about places!

DG XIII/E deals primarily with Information Market policy issues. In keeping with the "market" aspect of GI, some of the sites to which we link, while offering interesting free, downloadable demonstrations, are primarily commercial sites, i.e. offering GI for sale, whether by national (government) agencies, research institutions or private companies. Good quality, value-added GI costs money to produce (regardless of who the producer is). The Internet is offering exciting new possibility for potential users to locate, sample and access digital GI, as well as viewing samples of non-digital GI products. Both digital and non-digital GI can be ordered via the Internet. Some of the sites listed here provide good examples of this capability - and immediately raise interesting and practical electronic commerce issues, such as security of financial transactions and information sent across the Internet, practical problems in downloading large volumes of data (especially raster products!), certification of the identity of buyer and seller, contractual obligations and enforcement of legal conditions of sale outside the country of sale.

Our listing of a Web site confers no special endorsement for that site nor of the products that it provides. If you have a favourite Web site for accessing maps or GI-related products, especially those with a European focus, please let us know by contacting at DG XIII/E with your suggestion or recommendation.

Global Coverage Mapping & GI sites

  • The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection from the Central Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin, Texas is one of the most comprehesive electronic collections available. Downloading time is also excellent, even via a 28.8 kbaud modem. Check this site out for world and European maps, ancient and historical maps of Europe, geological maps, and more. PCL also has mirror Web sites in various countries, including Europe. Check their main site for a link near you.
  • Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research of the University of Iowa, USA also provides an extensive list of links to USA, European, other regional and global maps, both traditional and interactive. You can also connect totutorials on how to make maps and download free software which permits you to become an electronic cartographer yourself. This site is well worth a visit.
  • Microsoft's new Terra Server on-line database system. A "terrabyte database" - which will offer 1 500 Gigabytes of satellite imagery covering 7 million square kilometres, made available by the USGS (US Geological Survey) and SPIN-2(SPace INformation - 2 meter) from Aerial Images, Inc. When fully operational, you will be able to purchase 2m resolution imagery on-line (for US$ 300 per 2km x 2km fragment) and also buy GIS-ready products in the transportation (rural and urban), hydrography, vegetation, urban/city polygons and "other" subjects - for as little as US$ 5 to US$ 10 per square km! Visit the site(s) and check out the samples. Terra Server is expected to be fully operational in the second half of 1998. But do not expect to find much European coverage available at the moment.
  • CIA Maps and Publications 1998 is the catalogue site for the US Central Intelligence Agency maps and world facts publications which are available for public release. Many maps may be downloaded freely while others are available for a fee (usually cost of distribution only) and can be ordered from various map collection holders whose details are available from the index page.
  • Land Info International's - Maps for a Digital World - offers a map database containing colour geo-referenced raster images, 3D vector contours, DEM data files and SPOT satellite images "at affordable prices", covering national and international ranges, at scales from 1:24,000 to 1:250,000. There are some interesting free samples available.
  • Oddens's Bookmarks is an excellent on-line cartographic resource from Prof. Rolf Oddens at Utrecht University. It is very interesting, up-to-date and has lots of resources other than just maps and cartography. More than 6000 links dedicated to the "fascinating World of Maps and Mapping". (22-09-99: new URL & new layout)

European National Mapping and GI Sites

  • The National Land Survey of Finland offers an interesting new "Citizens's MapSite", with an interactive map selection interface linked to numerous datasets. NLS also offers a "Professional MapSite" from which higher quality, large scale maps can be located and purchased. The site operates in Finnish or English. An excellent example of how the Web can be put to good use in offering a nation's citizens a geo-spatially referenced look at their country!
  • Visit the excellent Web site maintained by the Environmental Agency of Andalucia (Consejería de Medio Ambiene) in Spain, which is currently monitoring a major environmental disaster caused by a break in the reservoir holding back toxic wastes at the Aznalcóllar copper mine, on 25 April 1998. The special coverage of the disaster (in Spanish and English) and its after effects, demonstrates how various types of GI (remote sensing imagery, aerial photography, landbased surveys and photography) can be combined to keep everyone informed about the extent of the pollution, clean-up activities underway and possible impact on the surrounding region, including the Doñana National Park and Natural Park of the Environment at Doñana. GI in action!

Non-European National Mapping & GI Sites

  • The FEMA Map Service Center of the USA's Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a good sample of how a Web site can be used to expedite the dissemination of flood map and insurance products relating to emergency planning and monitoring. FEMA released its digital Flood Data mapping product in CD-ROM late in 1996. This covers over 900 counties in the US. A 10-county sample of this free, GIS-ready data is available from the Web site. The GI is used in floodplain management, hazards analysis and risk assessment.
  • The Mexico Data System - AZTECA 2.0 is a large GIS exploration database covering the whole of Mexico, with geodata, topography, infrastructure and cultural data. The Resources Sciences, Inc. site markets the data, from whichfree demonstration downloads in various GIS formats are available. An interesting site which demonstrates on-line ordering and sales of GI map-based products, as well as offering a glimpse of pricing for this type of added-value product. The site also has links to geodata on Peru in the INCA 1.1 system. Digitized 1:50 000 and 1:250 000 scale maps of INEGI - the Mexican National Institute of Statistics Geography and Informatics - are also available (for a fee) in various GIS formats from the GeoGRAFX site, which also supports on-line ordering and payment.

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