What kinds of
• A separately published dictionary of
geographic names that gives the
location of each entry (example: The
Columbia Gazetteer of the World).
Also, an index of the names of the
places and geographic features shown
on the maps contained in an
atlas, usually printed in a separate
section following the maps, with
locations indicated by page number (or
map number) and grid coordinates.
Some gazetteers include information
about major geographic features such
as rivers, lakes, mountains, cities, etc.
What is a gazetteer?
Columbia Gazetteer of the World?
• U.S. Gazetteer: 2010, 2000, and 1990
• Download 2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer files for
places, counties, county subdivisions, census
tracts, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
(ZCTAs). The vintage matches the 2010
Census data available from the Census
• You can also download Census 2000 U.S.
Gazetteer files and 1990 Census U.S.
Gazetteer files. “These files are available to
the public „as is‟.”
A free online US gazetteer
A free world gazetteer
2013-03-24: Unfortunately this site will be closed
end of July
• A handbook that provides useful current
information for travelers to a
city, state, region, country, or other
geographic area or for visitors to a
museum, park, historical site, etc. (see this
• What is an atlas?
• A bound or boxed collection of maps, usually
related in subject or theme, with an index of place
names (gazetteer) usually printed at the end.
• In most modern atlases, the maps are printed in
uniform style and format, on a fairly consistent
scale. An atlas may be issued as an independent
publication or as accompanying material, with or
without descriptive text, plates, charts, tables, etc.
Some have a special focus (example: The Times
Atlas of World Exploration); others are intended
for a specific use (road atlases).
• From ODLIS definition of atlas
• Is the Print Atlas Dead Yet?
• A recent article in The Chicago Tribune about how
traditional maps have been vanishing from classrooms
got me thinking about one of the staples of the print
reference collection, the atlas. While print dictionaries
and encyclopedias have crumbled under the onslaught of
digitization, it has taken awhile for the atlas to be
replaced by online sources, partly because of problems
with imaging and display. This is
changing, however, thanks to better scanning.
• Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:31 am
Posted by: Rebecca Vnuk
Print vs. Online Atlases
• Map skills and higher-order thinking
• The skills needed to read and interpret maps are a part of
visual literacy — a set of skills and habits of mind necessary
to “read” images. Visual literacy means not just decoding an
image but comprehending it — grasping the image‟s
intended meaning, evaluating it, and incorporating it into
• Of course, students have to learn map conventions. But
although understanding conventions is the first step towards
literacy, it isn‟t literacy. Stopping there would be like
teaching a child the sounds of the letters and then handing
her a book. Just because she can decode the words on the
page doesn‟t mean she can comprehend the book — and
just because a child can decode a map doesn‟t mean he can
Map Reading Skills
A source for map skills resources
18 Copyright 2009
A not-so-free map skills site
• Caching In on GPS
• Map trails, find treasure caches, and solve
problems by using a Global Positing System (GPS)
with your students. GPS technology is made
possible by 24 U.S. military satellites orbiting Earth
that transmit signals to a receiver. This data
provides the location and the current time for each
of the satellites. The receiver calculates its position
based on where the satellites intersect. Data from at
least three satellites is necessary to find a 2-D
position and from four satellites for a 3-D location.
• Joseph, L. C. (2006). Caching In on GPS. Multimedia &
Internet@Schools, 13(6), 21-25.
• See also Anderson, M. (2008). Geocaching for Fun and
Learning. Multimedia & Internet@Schools, 15(2), 32-35.
What about GPS?
Where to do it?