Skip to main content

Europe in the World: Perspectives on Communities: Geospatial

A 2013 student scholarship competition and exhibit in Olin Library, sponsored by the Library with a grant from the Cornell Institute for European Studies

What is Europe/European?

Geopolitically Europe has not been defined consistently throught time. Quite often the concept of Europe has been much wider than the geographical term. For instance, on many occasions countries like Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are considered "European" and are accepted in events restricted to "European" countries, although the most widely accepted eastern geographical boundaries are the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea. Nevertheless, for purposes of geographic clarity, we will go with the general recognition of Europe politically as the countries-members of the Council of Europe plus Belarus, Kazakhstan, and The Vatican. For a complete list of all European countries, see below.

Alphabetical List of European Countries

General Resources

The following section provides links to various general resources, the most important of which is INSPIRE, the geoportal for the members of the European Union.

INSPIRE - the INSPIRE geoportal provides the means to search for spatial data sets and spatial data services, and subject to access restrictions, to view spatial data sets from the EU Member States within the framework of the INSPIRE Directive.

Europa World Plus - the online version of the Europa World Year Book and the nine-volume Europa Regional Surveys of the World series; covers political and economic information in more than 250 countries and territories. Dataabout Europe has been split by region: Western Europe; Central and South-Eastern Europe; and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia.

GeoCommunity - a GIS online portal providing geospatial data for countries around the world including most European countries. If you can't find a country in the "Resources by Country" section, GeoCom is the most like source you will find data. In order to access and download data GISDataDepot users are required to have a GeoCommunity account. Many data types of data (DEM, NWI, DLG, LU/LC, and TIGER) are available for free download (Green icon). Most other data products (DRG, DOQ, DOQQ, FEMA) will require account holders to purchase data "blocks" for a nominal fee using their account.

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Urban Atlas - the Urban Atlas is providing pan-European comparable land use and land cover data for Large Urban Zones with more than 100.000 inhabitants as defined by the Urban Audit. The GIS data can be downloaded together with a map for each urban area covered and a report with the metadata.

Natural Earth - a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. For each scale, themes are listed on Cultural, Physical, and Raster category pages. The data features tightly integrated vector and raster data.

World Database of Large Urban Areas, 1950-2050 - represents the historic, current and future estimates and projections with number of inhabitants for the world's largest urban areas from 1950-2050. The database is available for unrestricted download, under the Creative Commons 0 License (public domain). 

Driving directions; maps from Michelin – directions, maps, traffic news, hotel locations and accomodations, and more.

Map 24 – Countries, cities, routes, distance.

European cities -- contains maps, literature, documents, books and other relevant material concerning the past, present and future of historic cities and facilitates the location of similar content on the web.

Roman Empire -- collection of “Rome resources”; the resources are divided into several categories.

Ancient Mediterranean region – The Ancient World Mapping Center promotes cartography, historical geography and geographic information science as essential disciplines within the field of ancient studies.

ReliefWeb – reference and thematic maps concerning current and past humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.

Resources by Country

The United Kingdom

Ordnance Survey – the national mapping agency of Great Britain; provides accurate and up-to-date geographic data of the entire country.

GoGeo - a United Kingdom geospatial data port that provides a number of helpful resources, including terminology, explanations of data types, and descriptions of data standards. In addition, it links to other resources.

Great Britain Historical Database Online  – provides a large integrated database of geographically-located historical statistics for Great Britain, mainly drawn from the period 1851-1939. 

Historical GIS Programme - a digital collection of information about Britain's localities as they have changed over time. Information comes from census reports, historical gazetteers, travellers' tales and historic maps assembled into a whole that is much more than the sum of its parts.

Go-Geo! – geospatial information and services.

London-- contains a reference database of topographical prints, maps, prospects and panoramas of London, the Thames and the UK. It also provides the opportunity to purchase CDs of the London maps and high quality reproductions.

The Roman Map of Britain - records place-names of Britain during the Roman occupation.

Great Britain's OS six-inch series (1846-1899)- the UK's most comprehensive historical map archive comprising site centred historical maps covering England, Wales and Scotland. We provide a complete step by step picture of land use changes that have taken place from the mid-19th Century onwards, from OS County Series, OS Town Plans and post-war National Grid mapping to unique Russian Maps of UK target locations from the cold-war era

Maps of Scotland 1569-1928 - high-resolution zoomable images of over 44,000 maps of Scotland

Resources by Country (cont'd)

Bundesamt fur Eich und Vermessungswesen – the body responsible for official surveying, geo-information and weights and measures (metrology) in Austria. It belongs to the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft, Familie und Jugend (Federal Ministry of the Economy, Family and Youth).

National Land Survey – provides access to the NLS topographic maps. You can search for maps from the whole of Finland by place names and coordinates, among others. In more accurate scales, you can also choose an aerial image as the background. More exact scales also show property boundaries and property identifiers.

 Institut Geographique National - The IGN is responsible for the management and updating of geodesic and leveling networks, aerial photographs, and geographical databases and maps. It leads research, and takes part in the standardization process in the field of geographic information.

Atelier Parisien de l'Urbanisme (France - Paris) -- metadata online portal for studies and analysis of urban and societal developments within public policy planning and development. Observes and analyzes the evolution of Paris, particularly regarding demographic, economic, social or property changes. The major themes in the work of the organization are housing, nature in the city and the public space plan, the climate, the changing urban landscape, and mobility and travel.

Bundesamt fur Kartographie und Geodasie - geodetic reference data and basic spatial data as well as maps, publications, reference systems and information services for the needs of the Federal Government, the administrative, economic and scientific sectors and all citizens.

Landmaelingar Islands – topographical maps of Iceland.

Ordnance Survey – geographic metadata and an interactive map of Ireland.

Ordnance Survey (Northern Ireland) – maps of Northern Ireland.

Istituto Geografico Militare - The  Military Geographic Institute is the national mapping agency for Italy; offers GIS portal for land management and environment among other products.

The Netherlands
Topografische Dienst - the National Cadaster of the Netherlands; provides geo-data and various maps.

Statens kartverk – The Norwegian Mapping Authority is the national provider and administrator of geodetical, geographical and cadaster information. It includes the National Land registry.

GEOCID portal – The National Geographic Information System is the national infrastructure of spatial data and, through its geo-portal, allows you to search, view, and explore geographic information produced both by official agrncies.

Instituto Geografico do Exercito - provides digital geographic information about Portugal, as well as well as aerial photography, three-dimensional representations of topography, etc.

IGN - the National Center for Geographic Information; provides access to the National Atlas of Spain: photographs, seismology reports, volcanology data, and other geospatial and geographic data.

Lantmateriet - digital or printed historical maps from Lantmäteriets digital archive, with maps from the 17th-20th century.

Bundesamt fur Landestopographie – geological maps and data as well as geological surveys. – interactive map of Switzerland; also offers a route planner.

Web Accessibility Assistance