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Michigan State University

Environmental Studies Resources: Maps & Atlases

Maps in the MSU Libraries

Most individual maps and atlases are located in the Map Library on the 3rd floor of the west wing in the Main Library.

There are a number of methods for identifying what is available in our catalog:

  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s) such as Great Lakes or Michigan
  3. Select Material Type - Print Map
  4. Click Submit
  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s) such as Great Lakes
  3. Select Location - Map Library
  4. Click Submit 
  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s) such as Great Lakes
  3. Select note - map
  4. Click Submit

Need more information about what is available? Ask the Map Librarian

Ask a Librarian


Try the MSU Library Ask a Librarian Service available via chat, IM, email, phone, and in person at the reference desk

Environmental Maps and Atlases (Electronic)

Atlas of America's Polluted Waters / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 2000. Also available in print from Government Documents Library U.S. Documents Collection (3 West) EP 2.2: AT 6 : Shows streams, rivers, coastal shorelines, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands that do not meet state water quality standards.

Conservation and Environment : a collection from the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.  The historic and more recent maps contained in this category show early exploration and subsequent land use in various areas of the United States. These maps show the changes in the landscape, including natural and man-made features, recreational and wilderness areas, geology, topography, wetland area, vegetation, and wildlife. Specific conservation projects such as the growth and development of U.S. National Parks are included in this category.

Dynamic Maps, GIS Data and Analysis Tools provides dynamically-generated maps of renewable energy resources that determine which energy technologies are viable solutions in national and international regions.  Courtesy of the national Renewable Energy Laboratory's Geographic Information System team.

EIS Mapper.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an interactive map-based tool that provides access to information on environmental impact statements (EIS) filed with EPA. The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to consider the impacts and any reasonable alternatives to proposed projects and other actions. For proposed projects with potentially significant impacts, federal agencies prepare a detailed EIS, which is filed with EPA and made available for public review and comment. EPA is required to review and comment on EISs prepared by other federal agencies. The web tool offers multiple search methods for finding an EIS of interest. Identifying information can assist users in locating EIS documents from other repositories. Some EIS documents can be downloaded directly in PDF

EnviroMapper for Envirofacts : a single point of access to select U.S. EPA environmental data. This Web site provides access to several EPA databases to provide you with information about environmental activities that may affect air, water, and land anywhere in the United States. With Envirofacts, you can learn more about these environmental activities in your area or you can generate maps of environmental information.  The portal allows you to enter a street address, city name, county name, zip code, park name, etc. and see what is available in the database.  Check out those bird's eye images of your neighborhood! 

Great Lakes Bathymetry and Shoreline Data.  Courtesy of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Great Lakes:  An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book : More than just maps.  Also provides lots of encyclopedic information.

Great Lakes Region Maps and GIS Data.  Courtesy of the Great Lakes Information Network.

Great Lakes Surface Water Temperatures. This reporting system is a cooperative project between the NOAA CoastWatch Great Lakes Regional Node located at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network. Created & maintained by Michigan Sea Grant and the MSU Remote Sensing & GIS Research and Outreach Services. Supported by MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and MSU Extension.

Mapping the National Parks. The Mapping the National Parks collection documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. The collection consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present, reflecting early mapping of the areas that would become four National Parks, as well as the parks themselves. Production of this collection is being supported by a generous gift from The Rockefeller Foundation. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory Project.

Michigan Surface Water Information Management System (MiSWIMS)  This application is an interactive map-based system that allows users to view information about Michigan’s surface water.  Users are able to view and download data collected by the DEQ and DNR from surface water monitoring sites located throughout Michigan.  The application provides the user two ways to search for water information: Text search and map search.

National Wetlands Inventory.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency that provides information to the public on the extent and status of the Nation's wetlands. The agency has developed a series of topical maps to show wetlands and deepwater habitats. This geospatial information is used by Federal, State, and local agencies, academic institutions, and private industry for management, research, policy development, education and planning activities. Digital data can be viewed and downloaded through several methods.

North American Environmental Atlas. As an initial activity, the National Atlas agencies of Canada, Mexico, and the United States – Natural Resources Canada; Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography; and the U.S. Geological Survey – created harmonized base map layers of North America. These base layers of political boundaries, populated places, roads and railroads, coastlines, lakes and rivers, and other geographic features provide a consistent North American atlas framework for future collaboration. Building on this accomplishment, CEC projects have contributed map layers for renewable energy capacity, priority conservation areas, and other environmental themes to the Atlas. The CEC is also exploring innovative mapping techniques for these map layers, including the industrial pollutant mapping tool for use with Google Earth.

One planet, many people : atlas of our changing environment / UNEP ; Ashbindu Singh, team coordinator ; Thomas R. Loveland, writer.  Nairobi, Kenya : UNEP, 2005.  1 atlas (vii, 320 p.) col. ill., col. maps ; 34 cm.  Map Library Short Atlas Stand G3201.D1 2005 O54 : In order to demonstrate the impact of humans on the environment, this oversized (10.5x13.5<">) volume presents pairs of full-page color satellite photos that contrast views of cities, lakes, seas, shorelines, forested areas, deserts, and other sites from the 1970s with the present day, with accompanying texts interpreting the changes for each site. In addition to the photos, each chapter discusses issues surrounding human population growth and the environment and various human industries and their impact on the environment, with inset boxes referring to specific cases.

State of Michigan's Wetlands Map Viewer. The purpose of this application is to provide the public with quick and easy access to wetland spatial data, allowing the users the ability to view, print and export wetland mapping data from their home desktop computer. Currently the Wetlands Map Viewer includes the following data: DEQ Final Wetland Inventory. You can find wetland map data through a text search or map search. Users can print and/or save generated maps and download the wetland data by county. 

SurgeDat : The World's Most Comprehensive Storm Surge Database.  A database of storm surge heights along the Gulf Coast from 1880 through 2011, including more than 250 surges in the north Atlantic region.

U.S. Drought Monitor. Courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources.

Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the United States.

Environmental Maps and Atlases (Print)

Africa : Atlas of our Changing Environment / Nairobi, Kenya : United Nations Environment Programme, c2008. 374pp. Government Documents Library, International Documents Collection (3 West) and Africana Library (2 East) G2446.G3 A37 2008; Accompaning CD-ROM in Digital and Multimedia Center (4 West) G2445 .A385 2008 CD-ROM : Profiles environmental change at more than 100 locations in Africa. There are more than 300 satellite images, 300 ground photographs and 150 maps, along with graphs and charts that give a visual portrayal of Africa and its changing environment that provide scientific evidence of the impact that natural and human activities have had on the continent's environment over the past several decades. The observations and measurements of environmental change help gauge the extent of progress made by African countries towards reaching the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

The Atlas of Climate Change : Mapping the World's Greatest Challenge / Kirstin Dow and Thomas E. Downing. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2006. 112pp. Main Library QC981.8.C5 D69 2006 : Global-warming-driven heat waves, droughts, and floods are bringing death to vulnerable populations, destroying livelihoods, and driving people from their homes. This book examines the causes of climate change and considers its possible impact on coastal megacities and subsistence-level populations; water resources; ecosystems and biodiversity; human health; and humanity's cultural treasures. With more than 50 full-color maps and graphics, this is an essential resource for policy makers, environmentalists, students, and everyone concerned with this pressing subject.

The Atlas of Endangered Species / Richard Mackay. Berkeley : University of California Press, [2008], c2009.  128pp. Reference QH75 .M285 2008  : Vividly illustrated with full-color maps and detailed graphics, The Atlas of Endangered Species catalogs the inhabitants of a wide variety of ecosystems, including forests, mangroves, and coral reefs. It examines the major threats to biodiversity, from loss of habitat to hunting, and describes athe steps being taken toward conservation.

The Atlas of U.S. and Canadian Environmental History / Char Miller, editor. New York : Routledge, 2003. 248pp. Main Library GF503 .A84 2003 : This atlas is divided into chronological chapters ranging from precolonial times to the present, each offering well-written, brief articles by individual contributors, each concentrating on six themes: "Agriculture," "Wildlife and Forestry," "Land Use Management," "Technology, Industry and Pollution," "Human Habitats," "Ideology and Politics." These themes reflect the interdisciplinary nature of environmental history, describing the relationship between humans and nature, emphasizing science and politics. The articles treat two to four clearly defined topics, but all offer essential insights and are objective and carefully documented. The roster of contributors indicates affiliations. The book is lavishly illustrated, with numerous maps, charts, and photos. Fascinating sidebars treat people and movements--e.g., Audubon, the Hetch Hetchy Valley Project, and information about treaties. An impressive 20-page bibliography of books on general themes and on the chapter themes has some references as late as 2002. Important features include a detailed index and a time line, 9500 BCE to the present. Despite its steep price, this outstanding addition to environmental history joins useful recent publications, J.R. McNeill's Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World and Carolyn Merchant's The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History.

Atlas of United States Environmental Issues / Robert J. Mason and Mark T. Mattson. New York : Macmillan ; Toronto : Collier Macmillan ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, c1990. 252pp. MSU Map Library Staff Reference (3 West) G1201.G3 M3 1990 : Chock full of environmental data from regional visibility ranges to degrees of light pollution in the Southwest, this title makes fascinating browsing and infers a compelling case for ecological action. Brief historical and political overviews of the environmental movement are followed by the book's core: vivid maps, charts, and graphs with accompanying text detailing the physical and political factors that contribute to the country's environmental issues. Unusual in a reference book, the authors voice concern about ecologically adverse government policies and administrations. Some of the information, compiled from a wide variety of sources, is dated, but this generally does not detract from a book that presents a provocative picture of our environmental condition.

One Planet, Many People : Atlas of Our Changing Environment / UNEP ; Ashbindu Singh, team coordinator ; Thomas R. Loveland, writer. Nairobi, Kenya : UNEP, 2005. 320pp. Map Library Short Atlas Collection (3 West) G3201.D1 2005 O54

Planet in Peril : an Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment / Arendal, Norway : UNEP/GRID-Arendal, 2006. 38pp. Government Documents Library International Documents Collection (3 West) G3201.D1 2006 P52  Also available online : This Atlas illustrates through texts and beautifully rendered maps, graphics and diagrams a holistic and well-researched analysis of today’s global issues and their impact on human population and the environment....Written by an international team of specialists, this Atlas illustrates through text and beautifully rendered maps, graphics and diagrams the interplay between population and the world’s ecosystems and natural resources both in the short and long terms. It brings together a wealth of information from the most up-to-date sources on such key issues as climate change, access to water, exploitation of ocean resources, nuclear energy and waste, renewable energy, weapons of mass destruction, causes of industrial accidents, waste, export, hunger, genetically modified organisms, urban development, access to health care and ecological change in China.

World Atlas of Biodiversity : Earth's Living Resources in the 21st century / Brian Groombridge & Martin D. Jenkins. Berkeley, Calif. : London : University of California Press, c2002. 340pp. Main Library Reference, Map Library Short Atlas Case, and Government Documents Library International Documents Collection QH541.15.B56 G762 2002 : Clothbound, lap-sized and hefty, its thick pages packed with sherbet-colored graphs and maps, the World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth’s Living Resources in the 21st Century (University of California Press, $54.95) is as handsome as a coffee-table book but smarter by factors of 10. Building on analyses carried out by the United Nations Environment Programme, the authors, Brian Groombridge and Martin D. Jenkins, look at the variety of life on Earth, taking the long view back through geologic time and forward into simulations of possible futures. In discussions of matters such as taxonomy, climate change and Homo sapiens’ short but influential tenure on the planet, they consider biodiversity as an arbiter of the quality of human life. Sometimes harrowing but never polemical, the book allows readers to draw their own conclusions. It’s an impressive sourcebook that deserves a prominent place on the shelves (or coffee tables) of policy-makers the world over.

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