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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Geospatial Resources

Georeferenced Maps

Image showing scanned map image aligned to and on top of aerial image with control points for georeferencing visible

Geography & Map Division Staff. Image showing georeferencing process for a scanned analog map in GIS software. 2021. Geography & Map Division.

Georeferenced maps are digital maps (scanned analog maps, born-digital cartography, or satellite images) which contain or are accompanied by geographic coordinates that correctly locate them on the earth's surface when opened in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software or online mapping platforms. These coordinates may be stored directly in a digital map file or the coordinate information may be stored as auxiliary files.

Georeferenced digital map images are popular among geospatial researchers and professionals for their ability to be combined with other geospatial data layers in GIS software. Common files types for georeferenced maps include, but are not limited to, GeoTIFFs and GeoPDFs.

Digital georeferenced maps still under copyright are not accessible online but are available to view in the Geography & Map Reading Room. Alternately, researchers may be interested in a list of all georeferenced maps available online or on-site. To inquire about viewing digital georeferenced maps under copyright in the Geography & Map Reading Room, please contact the Geography & Map Division through Ask a Librarian.

Select Georeferenced Maps

Posts about Georeferenced Materials from Worlds Revealed Blog

Worlds Revealed is the blog of the Library of Congress Geography & Map Division. Since 2015 the blog has explored the past, present, and future of maps and mapping through the lens of the division's collections. These selected posts relate to georeferenced materials: