Small libraries should provide their patrons with current maps, gazetteers, travel guides and other geographic information. The Internet contains a vast amount of material in these areas, but paper sources remain a necessity. Currency is of the utmost importance. Patrons are not likely to check the copyright date for an atlas before making use of it; the average person would assume the maps are up to date. Some geography specialists estimate that a ten-year-old atlas is 50% wrong. When one considers name and political changes and advances in cartography, this assessment is likely to be the case.

World Atlases

L1. Hammond World Atlas 2000. 3rd ed. Langenscheidt, 2000. 312p. (4)

Over 160 pages of newly drafted world maps comprise this excellent atlas. The work includes easy-to-read, computer generated maps divided into three sections—Global Relationships, comparing populations, languages, religions, energy, resources, and climates; the Physical World, containing clear relief maps; and Maps of the World, presenting detailed political and topographical maps. Although this atlas is relatively expensive, it is a better buy than other excellent works such as National Geographic Atlas of the World and DK World Atlas, both in the $150 range.

L2. Map Machine. National Geographic.com. (http://plasma.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine)

Maps available at this site include World Theme (physical, political & cultural, climate & weather, etc.), U.S. Theme (census 2000, physical, political & cultural), Street Maps, Atlas Maps (world, by continent, by ocean), Historical Maps (battle, railroads, etc.), Flags and Facts (basic information about countries), Mars, and Wild World.


L3. U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Gazetteer. (www.census.gov/cgi-bin/gazetteer)

Populations, locations, and maps of the areas are provided for places, counties, and MCDs. Unincorporated towns are not included. Population figures are currently based on the 1990 census, with expected updates in the offing.

L4. The World Gazetteer. (www.world-gazetteer.com/home.htm)

This site provides current population figures for cities and towns for all countries of the world with links to maps for each area.

Road Atlases and Travel

L5. Mapquest. (www.mapquest.com/directions)

This sites provide detailed travel directions either from one city to another or one street address to another.

L6. Rand McNally 2002 Road Atlas: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Rand McNally. 138p. Annual (1pa.)

Annual updates for this atlas contains road maps for each of the 50 states, the states and provinces of Mexico and Canada, and over 150 major cities. Maps identify principal highways, paved and unpaved roads, and scenic routes. They also indicate rest areas, campgrounds, airports, dams, national parks and forests, mountain peaks, major colleges and universities, ferries, and other features.

L7. Roads of Texas Atlas. Texas A&M University Cartographic Laboratory. Shearer, 1995. (1pa)

The detailed maps in this outstanding atlas make it a “must purchase” for Texas libraries of all sizes. Some 80 maps, most double-page, focus on areas surrounding cities or the largest town in the area. In addition, there are inset maps for all cities and larger towns. Roads and highways (Interstate, U.S., Farm or Ranch to Market Roads), county boundaries, flowing or intermittent streams, lakes or reservoirs with dams or intermittent lakes, areas subject to flooding, railroads and stations, and military bases are shown. For rural areas there are locations for such features as historic sites, sawmills, feedlots, grain elevators, power substations, and much more. Mileage between locations is not provided on the maps, but a chart supplies distances between larger cities.

L8. Texas Atlas & Gazetteer. 3rd ed. DeLorme Publishing, 2000. 162p. (2pa.)

This is an excellent atlas for trip planning within the state. The work includes detailed topographical maps along with gazetteer information on places to see and activities to enjoy—amusement parks, campgrounds, freshwater and saltwater fishing, hiking, historic sites, information centers, museums, state and national lands, travel trails, unique natural features and wildlife viewing. There are street maps for 100 cities and towns and 126 pages of area maps.

L9. Texas Parks and Wildlife. (www.tpwd.state.tx.us)

This Texas Parks and Wildlife database provides links to a wide variety of locations such as archaeology and pictograph sites, historic homes and structures, historic military forts and battlegrounds, commemorative and living history locations. There also are links to fishing, boating, and other recreational sites.

Price Guide: (1) Under $15 (2) $16-$25 (3) $26-$35 (4) $36-$45 (5) $46-$55 (6) $56-$65 (7) $66-$75 (8) $76-$85 (9) $86-$95 (10) Over $96

Page last modified: March 2, 2011