Harvard Maps Collection

Digital Collections


The Harvard Map Collection maintains a collection of digital resources in a variety of formats. Thousands of data layers are available for use in Geographic Information Systems on the HMC research workstations. The Map Collection is also the primary contributor of GIS data to the Harvard Geospatial Library, where even more layers can be downloaded.

In addition to data for use in GIS programs, the Harvard Map Collection holds thousands of digital images and electronic atlases.

Assistance is available for students and faculty who would like to learn more about GIS software and data.  Librarians can also assist in the search for supporting data sets from around the world.  Email maps@harvard.edu for guidance and more information.

All electronic materials are subject to Licensing and Copyright restrictions.

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Geospatial Data Sets

Geospatial data are electronic data that include some kind of location information, which could be latitude longitude coordinates, an address, a zip code or a county. These data are generally used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartography, and remote sensing software packages. The Map Collection's geospatial holdings include data statistical information from the U.S. Census Bureau along with the boundaries of the census geographies (tracts, block groups and blocks).  In addition, detailed planning information, such as building footprints and street outlines, is available for many cities in the Boston metropolitan area. Many worldwide and foreign data sets are also available. Much of the GIS data is available for download in the Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL), users are encouraged to speak with the digital cartography specialist for assistance. Email maps@harvard.edu for more information.

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Digital Images

The Harvard Map Collection continues to digitize many of its holdings and these images are available to view on-line in a number of ways.  The Harvard Map Collection Digital Maps Virtual Collection is a search engine for images of maps and atlases.  This collection can be searched by title, author, subject or genre and every result will include a link to an on-line image.  Some complete map series are included, and they can be searched as described, or browsed using index maps.  Many of the maps have been georeferenced for use in a Geographic Information System, and links to these images and their associated GIS files can also be found through the Virtual Collection or the Harvard Geospatial Library.

For more information on retrieving images from HOLLIS, visit Getting Started at the Map Collection.

A variety of options are available for print and digital reproductions.

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Digital Exhibitions

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Electronic Atlases

An electronic atlas is a digital collection of maps and sometimes data that share a common theme. Many electronic atlases are interactive and incorporate multimedia such as audio, video, and animation. The Harvard Map Collection holds a wide variety of electronic atlases ranging from road atlases to trip planners to historic atlases to state and country tourism guides.

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