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U.S. Federal Documents: Maps & Geospatial Data

Northwestern University Libraries have been a U.S. Federal Depository Library since 1876. Our collection includes materials in paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, DVD formats and online formats. This guide is based on a similar guide by Kelly Smith at UCSD.

Additional LibGuides

Get Started With Maps

NUL has an extensive collection of USGS topographic maps for all fifty states and US territories in paper format and in a variety of scales (1:24,000; 1:100,100; 1:250,000).  Older editions of topographic maps for Illinois are retained, providing valuable information about changes in land use and settlement patterns.

USGS ceased updating paper topographic map in the early 2000s, instead focusing effort on creating and updating the online edition of topographic maps linked below along with geospatial data for analysis using GIS software.  USGS will print paper maps on demand for a fee. NUL and other libraries retain paper copies of topographic maps which are valuable for a variety of uses.  Contact govinfo@northwestern.edu for assistance finding maps.

A gazetteer is a dictionary of place names, often identifying the correct spelling, the type of place (is it a lake, a town or an airport, for example) and the location (within what country, latitude/longitude coordinates, etc.).   

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USGS Topographic Maps in NUL

Paper topographic maps for all 50 states in scales ranging from 1:24,000 (detailed) to 1:250,000 (less detailed, more area) are available in the Deering Library, Room 102.  The area colored in gold on this map illustrates where to find the map cases.  This area is not staffed.  Contact govinfo@northwestern.edu to make an appointment with library staff if you need assistance.