Sources of Geographic Information
City Maps (U.S. and foreign)
- To see if we have a specific city map, look for [city name], [country (or state)]--Maps as subject in the online catalog or the Maps card catalog in the Maps & Government Publications area. (For example, a map of Corvallis could be searched for as Corvallis, Or.--Maps.) They will have a call number for you to locate them by.
- Official highway maps of many states often have city insets (and distance charts within the state); search in the online catalog with [state]--Road maps as subject for call numbers.
- A distance and driving time chart for the U.S. as well as U.S. Railroad Distance Table can be found in the Rand McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide. Don't forget the Rand McNally Standard Highway Mileage Guide for highway mileage between North American cities.
- Goodes Atlas (Ref Map Room G1020 .G6 1991) and other Rand McNally atlases have metropolitan maps. For foreign cities, if OSU Libraries Online Catalog doesn't bring something up, we have some European road atlases.
Land Ownership (Cadastral)
Most of OSU Libraries' information on land ownership is historical in nature. For more current information you will need to go online. Here are some of your options:
- The Metsker county atlases (at least one for each Oregon county, now located in Special Collections & Archives) give individual property owner names, but are not current (suggested for historical purposes only).
- Benton County/Corvallis
- City of Corvallis property information http://www.corvallismaps.com
- Some early Benton county maps have ownership information (in map storage cases; check card catalog for call numbers).
- City of Albany property information http://www.cityofalbany.net/it/gis/
- Some U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maps indicate private, state, and public ownership. Check the online catalog or maps card catalog under subjects [state] -- Public Lands, Land -- [state] or Public Lands.
- In the online catalog or card catalog, look under the subject [state] -- Maps, Outline and Base.
- For 8½ x 11" maps of the world, individual countries, or states, look in binders on the Map Reference shelves.
- For 8½ x 11" state maps, the Cleartype Atlas of the U.S. is on the Map Reference shelves (Ref Map Room G1204 A1 A4).
- U.S. Geological Survey maps at 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000 exist for each state. Look in the online catalog under [state] -- Maps, Physical or [state] -- Maps, Topographic (depending on what other information is needed) for call numbers.
- U.S. Geological Survey also puts out maps of the entire United States showing county boundaries (G3700 1972 U5G4, 2 sheets).
- Rand McNally Commercial Atlas (Ready Ref) has large maps that show county boundaries.
- Hammond atlases are particularly good for administrative sub-divisions.
- National Atlas of the U.S.A. (Ref Map Room G1200 .N21; oversize) has plastic overlays with county outlines.
- Township Atlas of the United States (Ref Map Room G1204 A1 A6 1979) has maps of counties, as well as township & range, congressional and census districts, etc, for each state.
- American Places Dictionary (Ref Map Room E154 A48 1994, 4 vols.) contains quite a bit of county information.
- Rand McNally Commercial Atlas (Ready Ref) has a chart for each state that gives counties and county seats.
- Columbia Gazetteer of the World (Ref Map Room G103.5 C651 1998, 3 vols.) is one of the best sources of place information. Information is in dictionary form, and there is direct entry under county names; earlier editions for 1962 and 1880 are also on the shelf for historical information.
- American Places Dictionary (Ref Map Room E154 A48 1994, 4 vols.) gives good county information including outline maps.
- National Association of Counties (NACo) (online) is the only national organizatiion representing county government. Its website contains information and databases that non-members can access. Find information such as county officials, courthouse addresses, county seats, cities within a county as well as various statistical and geographical information.
Township and Range
If your question is: Where is Section ??, Township ??, Range ??,
Many maps show township and range, and some show section numbers also. Here are some suggested approaches.
- Find the appropriate state 1:1,000,000 or 1:500,000 map in the online catalog (best) or the Township Atlas of the U.S. (Ref Map Room G1204 A1 A6 1979) and locate the general area of the specific Township & Range. Once the general area is known you can use one of several different options:
- For Oregon places, individual Metsker county atlases for the appropriate county can be useful (located in Special Collections & Archives). While many of these atlases are rather old, the township/range information has not changed, and it is very clear and easy to read
- There are state Metsker atlases for both Oregon (Valley Maps Ref G1490 .M4 1972) and Washington (Valley Maps Ref G1485 .M51 1972); in them is a map for each county in the state which shows township/range.
- Some other county maps also show township/range (search [name] County, [state] --Maps or --Road maps in the online catalog to get call number).
- U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps are very good sources for township, range and section numbers. Find the appropriate sheet using the index maps or by looking up the place name online in GNIS)
- If the place is in or near a national forest the National Forest maps show township/range (in the online catalog, use the forest name as the subject) also show township/range.
If you need to convert Township and Range to Latitude and Longitude (or the other way around) Earth Point has as one of their tools for Google Earth a pretty nifty website where you can do this: a page on Township and Range at http://www.earthpoint.us/townships.aspx. If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, you can even "fly in" on a visual with a click of a button.
Highest and Lowest Points by State or Country
- The National Atlas of the USA (Ref Map Room G1200 .N21; oversize) has this information in the back, just before the gazetteer.
- World atlases give similar information for other countries.
- Another source for world information is World Facts and Figures (G109 .S52 1979) which will tell you highest, lowest, warmest, coldest, wettest, driest, longest, largest, deepest, etc. by country. Also includes country and city population information. A more current edition is kept in the main floor Reference area.
- USGS has a page called Elevations and Distances in the United States (http://egsc.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html)
Latitude and Longitude
- For the latitude and longitude of specific places, use individual gazetteers by state (all but Oregon are now in the main stacks) or foreign country (search [state or country]--Gazetteers or Names, Geographical--[state or country]. The more current foreign gazetteers are on microfiche).
- Some gazetteers in atlases give latitude & longitude.
- The online Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) replaces the state gazetteers.
- It is also possible to determine latitude and longitude from atlases, USGS topographic sheets, and other maps, but this is not generally as precise as consulting a gazetteer.