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Research Guides

Why Use Maps?

Maps provide information you can't always get from a text source. Maps symbolize a particular place at a particular time. It is important to keep in mind that maps are not a mirror of reality -- the creator of a map chooses what to include and how to depict a certain place within the conventions of the cartography of the times.

HelpMaking Sense of Maps, Map Analysis Worksheet, Learning to do Historical Research: Maps

Image: Detail of a map of Japan Town ca. 1925

Find Maps

UW Libraries Maps & GIS Resources

  • UW Maps Resources - online and print maps
  • Skinner Map Collection - comprehensive digital collection of maps from China, Japan, France and more from UW faculty G. William Skinner (includes nearly 700 maps).

United States & Washington State Maps

  • SimplyAnalytics (UW Restricted)
    Create maps to illustrate a range of economic, social, and demographic factors.
  • Social Explorer (UW Restricted)
    Create maps or data tables from US Census data, 1790-present. Maps can be printed or displayed in a slideshow.
  • Policy Map (UW Restricted)
  • City of Seattle Census Geographic Files & Maps
    Data for Census Bureau geographies and Locally Defined Areas.
  • King County Census Viewer
    View maps and tables for more than 100 community census data indicators for 77 defined places throughout King County. Data displayed at census tract or blockgroup level within each place.
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Interactive Maps
    A collection of interactive map tools from the Census Bureau that provides display options for mapping demographic data.

International Maps