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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data

Resources for Geographic Information Systems and maps, including finding data and tutorials.

Citing Maps and Data

This guide will help you cite cartographic materials in their many forms. For formats not listed here, please consult Cartographic Citations A Style Guide

This guide follows the general guidelines of The Chicago Manual of Style

General Rules

  • If the author of a map is unknown, it is okay to leave this information out
  • If you are unable to determine the scale, use the phrase "scale not given"
  • Map citations need to include the format in brackets i.e. [map].


Single Sheet Map

Format:  Author. Title [format]. Edition. Scale. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

Example:  Goddard, Ives, Native Languages and Language Families of North America [map] .Rev. and enlarged ed., with additions and correcitons. 1:7,500,000. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute, 1996.

Map from a Book or Atlas

Format:  Map Author. Map title [format]. Scale. Place of publication: Publisher, Date (if known). In: Book Author. Book title. Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date, page.

Example: Singh, Rana. Kali-Khona Temple Complex [map]. 1cm=1m. In: Singh, Rana. Sacred Geographies of Goddesses in South Asia. First edition. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, p.220.

Static Map from Website

Format:  Author if known. Map Title [map]. Date of map creation if known. Scale. “Title of the website”. Date posted if known. <URL> (date accessed).

Example: Everett Henry.The Voyage of the Pequod from thebook Moby Dick by Herman Melville [map]. 1956. Scale Not Given. "A Whale of a Story, for Goldfish: The Voyage of the Pequod" January 30, 2014. <> (January 31).

Map Generator on a Website

Format: Author. Title of map created. Layers used. Scale. Name of person who generated map; using "Title of Website" <URL. (date accessed). 

Example: Indiana Geological Survey. Indiana Counties. Layers used: PLSS Counties. Scale unknown. Map generated by Jane Doe; using "IndianaMAP"<> (Accessed January 5, 2014).

Map Produced with specific GIS program

Format:  Author. Map title [format]. Scale. Place of production: Producer, Date of copyright or production. Using: Computer software title [format]. Edition. Place of production (of software): Producer, Date of copyright or production (of software).

Example: Quill, Theresa. War of 1812 Battle Sites in Indiana  [map]. Scale Not Given. "GIS at the Library": <>, July 2012. Using: ArcGIS [GIS software]. Version 10.0. Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute,Inc., 2010.

Real Time Maps

Format:  Author. Title [format]. Date produced and time if known. Scale. "Title of document or site". <URL> (date accessed).

Example: United States Geological Survey.1 Day, Magnitude 2.5+ Worldwide [map]. January 31, 2014 12:51:47 UTC-05:00. Scale Not Given. "Real-Time Earthquake Map" <> (January 31, 2014).

Map in a Series

Format:  Author. Sheet title, Number [format]. Edition. Scale. Series title. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

Example:  U.S. Geological Survey. Bloomington quadrangle, Indiana [map]. Photorevised 1993. 1:24,000. 7.5 Minute Series. Reston, Va: United States Department of the Interior, USGS, 1999.

Map from a Periodical

Format:  Map Author if known. Map Title [format]. Scale if known. In: Article Author. "Article Title," Journal Title volume (year): page.

Example:  Civil War Riots [map]. In: Smith, Shannon. (2013). Teaching Civil War Union Politics: Draft Riots in the Midwest. OAH Magazine of History, 27(April). 31-34.


Aerial Photographs

Format: Author. Title or frame number. Scale. Flight title (if part of flight). Place of publication: Publisher, Date of image collection (NOT date of reproduction)

Example: United States Department of Agriculture Aerial Photography Field Office. QT-3N-42. 1:21,000. Salt Lake City:  USDA-FSA-APFO Aerial Photography Field Office, June 23,1954.

Satellite imagery

Format: Author. Title. Scale. Place of publication: Publisher, Date of image collection.

Example: Google Inc. [Bloomington, Indiana]. Scale not given. Mountain View, CA: Google Inc. 2014.

Mapping Software

Format: Author. Title. Edition. Place of prodcution: Producer, Date of copyright or production. 

Example: Esri. ArcGIS. Version 10.2.1. Redlands, CA: Esri, 2014.

Geospatial Data

Format: Author. Title. Edition. Place of production: Producer, Date of copyright or production. 

Example: U.S. Bureau of the Census. TIGER/Line: Redistricting Census 2000. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of the Census, 2001.


Adapted from: 

Kollen, Christine., Wangyal Shawa, and Mary Lynette Larsgaard. Cartographic Citations: A Style Guide. 2nd ed. Chicago: Map and Geography Round Table, American Library Association, 2010.