UCB Libraries

Tips & Tools

search image:http://www.tagxedo.com


  • Tips: Search
    for Maps
  • Tips: Search
    for Data
  • Citing
  • Make Your
    Own Map
  • Local Map


Searching Chinook (CU Boulder's online catalog) is a good starting point when looking for maps. A little more than half of the maps in the collection are cataloged in Chinook. All of the atlases, reference books, and CDs in the Map Library can be found through Chinook.



  • Chinook Plus (basic and advanced search) – Refine your search results from the basic search using facets and tag clouds. You can limit searches by collection, location, or type of material using the advanced search. Searches University Libraries digital collections and provides quick links to articles, databases, and more.
  • Chinook Classic (basic and advanced search) – You can limit searches by collection, location, or type of material using the advanced search.

Tips for Keyword Searches

  • Begin with a keyword search for the place name, starting with the most specific geographic region and move to larger geographic areas, if necessary.
  • If you are looking for a specific type of map (such as a geologic map), include that information in your keyword search. For example: Boulder geology
  • There is no need to use “and” between keywords.
  • You can sort results by relevance (the default), date, or title.
  • When you search for a map in Chinook, you are not seeing results for the full collection; you are only seeing what has been cataloged so far. Contact to the Map Library staff, and we can help you search for relevant uncataloged resources.
  • Use an asterisk (*) as a truncation symbol for up to 5 characters. For example, geolog* will search for geology, geologic, or geological.
  • In the advanced search, limit by Collection: Maps/Atlases/GIS data. Be aware that these limits by material type will exclude any books accompanied by maps.
  • In the advanced search, limit to Location: Map Library. This limit is helpful if you know the map you need is in the Map Library. However, it excludes many atlases and electronic maps that are located in places other than the Map Library (such as Reference and Art/Architecture).

Finding Uncataloged Maps
Uncataloged maps are arranged in order by geographic area in drawers that can be browsed. We have a number of indexes and databases in paper and online that we can use to help you find the map you need. Please ask the Map Library staff for help.



Also see the Map Library's guide to geospatial data in the Map Library and online.


Things to keep in mind as you search for geospatial data:

  • What? What subject or theme are you interested in (e.g., geology, pine beetle infestation, pollution, etc.)?
  • Where? In what geographic region is your area of study (e.g., international, United States, region, county, or city, etc.)?
  • Who Cares? What agency might create or be nterested in collecting these data? Think of agencies tasked to work on a specific subject area and local/regional agencies (e.g., sea ice in the Arctic = National Snow & Ice Data Center, National Climatic Data Center, USGS Alaska Science Center, etc.)
+ Tips for Searching in Chinook


Search Chinook, the Libraries' catalog, to find government datasets, online data resources and purchased digital data.


Chinook Classic – Advanced Keyword Search: Finds GIS-ready data and ungeoreferenced electronic maps and atlases in all file formats.

  • Enter search terms and select Material Type: Maps/Atlases/GIS Data and Electronic Version.
  • Chinook automatically brings keywords together unless you use quotes to search as a phrase.
    • A search for boulder geology will find records with the word boulder and the word geology anywhere in the record.
    • A search for “boulder geology” will find records with only the phrase “boulder geology” in them.
    • Use an asterisk (*) for a truncation symbol.
    • For example, geolog* searches for geology, geologic, geological, etc.
    • View an Advanced Search screen shot.

Chinook Plus

You cannot narrow down a search to just electronic geospatial data in Chinook Plus the way you can in Chinook Classic.

  • Selecting Maps/Atlases/GIS Data in the Collections drop-down menu on the left will give you all paper or digital maps and GIS data.
  • If you also select Online Library Resources in the Collections drop-down menu, be aware that this will exclude all data the Libraries holds on servers or CD/DVDs.
  • View an Advanced Search screen shot.


  • Try various search terms using the keyword search (Chinook Classic or Chinook Plus)
  • Statistics data*
  • Data*GIS
  • Any other terms ¬†with a theme, such as population or education

Ask for help! maplib@colorado.edu




Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (PDF)

This guide shows how to cite maps in 28 different forms, and it includes several examples for each form.


Darmouth College Library

This research guide has a section on citing cartographic information.


Library of Congress

This includes samples of how to cite maps and charts using MLA and Chicago.


Statistics Canada

This shows examples of citing maps and geospatial products.



+ Google Maps


Google Maps: Creating Custom Maps
Watch a video on how to create a “My Map” in Google Maps. This page also has links to directions for adding map features and other content, and how to organize and share your maps.


Tutorial: Creating Maps Using Custom Maps for Google Maps

Learn how to mark locations, paths, and regions of interest on a personalized map and share it with the world. You can even add descriptive text, embed photos and videos, and view your map on Google Earth.


Google Fusion Tables

Learn how to turn a table of locations into a map.


Tutorial: Create with Fusion Tables
Step-by-step instructions for turning table data into a map and customizing the map. This also has instructions on how to create an intensity map with custom boundaries. Visit the Fusion Tables Example Gallery to see how journalists, nonprofits, businesses around the world use Fusion Tables.


+ Google Earth


Google Earth Tutorials
Learn how to annotate Google Earth – add placemarks, paths, polygons, photos and videos. Also, how to add GPS or GIS data to Google Earth.


Google Earth and Google Maps Beginner Tutorials
Watch videos, then click “View full tutorial” for step-by-step instructions.


Spreadsheet Mapper 3
This tutorial shows you how to enter data in an on-line spreadsheet to generate a set of placemarks in Google Earth and Maps.


+ Scribble Maps


Scribble Maps

Easily draw on maps and share them. With Scribble Maps, you can:

  • add custom images/overlays
  • place text and markers
  • export to Google Maps and Google Earth
  • send maps to friends