GIS and Mapping for Reference Librarians: A Short Guide

by Sarah Elichko

open street map of Haiti earthquake damage

Chances are high that you’ve used Google Maps (or Bing Maps or Mapquest) to find your way somewhere.

But there are far more interesting applications of these technologies than finding the nearest coffee shop (essential though that is).  I’ve learned about some of these possibilities from the short online course from RUSA called Spatial Literacy 101, taught by Eva Dodsworth of the University of Waterloo.

I’ll skip professional-level GIS programs (e.g. ArcGIS) and focus on freely available resources that you can explore and share with your library patrons.  Here are a few of the resources we’ve looked at in the course.  (The course goes into these resources and others in much greater depth, so this is just a preview.)