Major Research Tools

David Rumsey Map Collection

Visual Resource

Coverage: 16th Century to present

Open access collection of historical map images; over 75,000 and growing. Maps covering nearly every corner of the world, dating from the 16th century to the present.

Historical Maps of the Lehigh Valley

Visual Resource

Collection of digital map images documenting the history of the Lehigh Valley, as well as a centralized registry of the physical maps available for in-person research at area institutions.

Library of Congress: Maps

Visual Resource

Digital map images from the Library’s Geography & Maps Division, organized by subjects and themes, primarily of the United States. Maps range from local to national scales and include panoramic bird’s-eye view maps of many cities from the mid-19th to early 20th century.

World Factbook


Data on the geography, demography, government, economics, etc. for every country in the world. From the CIA.

Other Suggested Research Tools

American Geographical Society Library

Data, Visual Resource

Coverage: 15th Century to present

Collection of over 1.3 million digital maps and atlases, worldwide in scope. From the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.

Digital Map Drawer

Visual Resource

Penn State’s digital map collection is particularly rich in Pennsylvania maps, but many other regions of the world are also represented. Especially notable is a nearly complete collection of out-of-copyright Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for Pennsylvania. High resolution digital color images of these maps are available for download.

Historical Nautical Charts (USA)

Visual Resource

Historical charts from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. This collection also includes other images from the archives of the USCGS which date back to the 18th century.

National Geographic Digital Archive

Coverage: 1888-2015

Full text, full page archive of National Geographic from the first issue through 2015. Pages have been digitized in color, including advertisements, and has features to browse search by image or browse by issue.

National Map TopoView

Data, Visual Resource

Interactive, online mapping service from the U.S. Geological Survey. Create customized topographic maps reflecting elevation, geology, land use, natural hazards, and other features.

Nautical Charts (USA)

Visual Resource

Online viewer and download center for nautical charts from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

New York Public Library Map Warper

Visual Resource

The NYPL's tool for "digitally aligning ("rectifying") historical maps from the NYPL's collections to match today's precise maps," accompanied by many previously aligned maps of New York City.

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

Visual Resource

The Boston Public Library's online map collection. Includes maps from the American Revolutionary War, the European age of discoveries, and Colonial New England and Boston.

Old Maps Online

Gateway, Visual Resource

Gateway to historical maps digitized by major map libraries in Europe and the U.S.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

Visual Resource

Over 2000 scanned maps from the University of Texas at Austin, plus links to many external online maps, including "maps of current interest".

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1867-1970 - Pennsylvania

Visual Resource

Digitized maps of towns or cities in Pennsylvania originally created for use by fire insurance companies. Maps are drawn to a scale of 50 feet to an inch; list street blocks and building numbers; and are coded for building materials used. For color versions of those maps, see the collection hosted by Penn State's map library. For Sanborn Maps in areas other than Pennsylvania, see Sanborn Maps from the Library of Congress.