Resources for: Geospatial Databases and Tools

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Map & Geography Related Online Resources

While not exhaustive, the list below highlights many of the map and geography-related resources that the University Libraries license for use by faculty, staff and students.

Licensed Online Tools (UMN Login Required)

ArcGIS Online (University of Minnesota Organizational Account)

ArcGIS Online allows users to create web maps, publish services, geocode location data, perform data analysis, and much more. Please contact the U-Spatial Office to request access to the organizational account:

China Geo-Explorer II

China Geo-Explorer is an intelligence spatial data service offered by the University of Michigan China Data Center, in collaboration with the All China Market Research Co., Ltd and the State Key Laboratory for Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) of Wuhan University. It offers China demographic and economic data, maps, charts and reports in the web-based delivery system. With this spatial intelligence, users are able to make rapid, accurate spatial decisions with greater confidence for regional planning, business investment, population, housing, environmental assessment, public health and many other spatial applications. Data sources in this database includes demographic and business information for all PRC geographies, including 31 Provinces, 345 Prefecture Cities, 2,873 Counties, and over 50,000 Townships.

Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 : Minnesota

Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This collection covers Minnesota towns and cities from 1867-1970.

Esri Business Analyst Online

Market analysis database for analyzing consumers, businesses, and other economic indicators by location. Research the lifestyles, buying behavior, and businesses in a given market area. A useful resource for business planning and site evaluation. Contact the U-Spatial Office to request a personal account and activation link:


EVGeoCloud allows users to create custom maps and analyses using data from a variety of GIS datasets, including topographic maps and population data. Includes tools to analyze raster data (when available), and to query and download data.

Data sets currently available in EVGeoCloud:
De Agostini WING -- world dataset of 406 indicators grouped in 27 themes and 5 main topics; LandScan Global Archive (2000-present) -- World population density, demographic data and boundaries; Karta Mira -- Digital version of Soviet world maps (1964-1976) at 1:2,500,000 scale; Raster versions of topographic maps -- Ethiopia 1:250,000 scale; Burundi 1:50,000 scale; Haiti 1:25,000 scale; Paraguay 1:100,000 scale.

Fire Insurance Maps online (FIMo): United States

Fire Insurance Maps online (FIMo) is a research portal to find and view high-definition, color fire insurance Maps, real estate atlases, plat books, and other historical maps showing building structures, building construction details, property ownership, property uses, and other information. The maps in the collection include publications by Sanborn, Perris, Hexamer, Whipple, Baist, Bromley, Hopkins and others.

Planet Labs Imagery

U-Spatial manages the University of Minnesota subscription to's daily PlanetScope imagery and automated monthly and quarterly composite basemaps and tile-services. This service provides daily 4-band high-resolution (3m) PlanetScope imagery for the entire globe. This imagery service is available to all UMN students, faculty, and staff for their research and coursework.

Submit this form to request access to Access Request Form.


PolicyMap is a web-based online data and mapping application that provides access to over 15,000 indicators related to demographics, housing, crime, mortgages, health, jobs and more. Data is available at all common geographies (address, block group, census tract, zip code, county, city, state, MSA) as well as unique geographies like school districts and political boundaries. Data comes from both public and proprietary sources. A complete list of data available can be found in the data directory.

Sage Data, powered by Data Planet

Provides access to statistical data produced by U.S. Federal agencies, States, private organizations, and major intergovernmental organizations. There are up to 2 billion charts, maps, views, rankings, time series and tables available for use in the Data-Planet repository.

Many of the data sets are available for download as GIS data -- look for the "Map" icon to identify this functionality.


SimplyAnalytics, formerly SimplyMap, creates thematic maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data for the United States. Click on Help to watch training videos. "Sign in as a guest" if you do not wish to register for a personal account. Personal accounts save your preferences, reports, and maps. 

Social Explorer (University of Minnesota Twin Cities Licensed Access)

Created by Queens College, City University of New York, and partnering with the University of Minnesota's own National Historical Geographic Information System, this subscription edition of Social Explorer offers the ability to create customized maps and reports of demographic, housing, and employment patterns throughout the United States using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Licensed Article Databases


Search tool for scholarly research about the geosciences. Includes journal articles, books, conference proceedings, government publications, theses, reports, and maps.
The GeoRef database covers the geology of North America from 1666 to the present and the geology of the rest of the world from 1933 to the present. The database includes references to all publications of the U.S. Geological Survey. Masters' theses and doctoral dissertations from U.S. and Canadian universities are also covered.

Web of Science (ISI)

A comprehensive interdisciplinary collection of journal article citations. Subjects generally covered are within science and technology, arts and humanities, and social sciences. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.

Freely Available Online Tools

ArcGIS Online

The free version of ArcGIS Online allows users to create web maps, geocode location data (with limitations), and more. Users can add web map services, Esri services, or upload shapefiles and CSVs with location information. Maps can be saved and shared easily.

Hennepin County Property Map

Optional map layers include parcel information (ownership, lot dimensions, tax information, etc.), recent aerial imagery and oblique aerial imagery. Includes option to print map.

Hennepin County Web Maps

Maps include topics such as bike routes, historical aerial imagery, parks, and natural resources.

LandScan Global Population Database

Using an innovative approach that combines geospatial science, remote sensing technology, and machine learning algorithms, LandScan Global is the finest resolution global population distribution data available representing an ambient (24 hour average) population. 

Minnesota DNR: Landview

Optional map layers include canoe routes, state trails, parks, forests, wildlife refuges, roads, water, Lake Superior Coastal Management photos and aerial imagery (including historic imagery from the 1930s and 1940s for most counties). Aerial imagery can be saved to your computer. Includes option to download displayed map as a PNG image file. 

Ramsey County: MapRamsey

Base map options include current & historic aerial imagery, land use, glacial geology, wetlands, parks, soils, watersheds, flood zones, school districts and zip codes. Optional map layers include bridges, depth to groundwater, highways, MnDOT traffic cameras, parcel data, schools, building footprints, railroads and block-level demographics. Includes option to export map as a PDF.

Social Explorer (Limited Public Access)

Created by Queens College, City University of New York, and partnering with the University of Minnesota's own National Historical Geographic Information System, this subscription edition of Social Explorer offers the ability to create customized maps and reports of demographic, housing, and employment patterns throughout the United States using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2024 11:02 AM