GIS (Geographic information system) are computer systems that capture, store, and display data related to positions on Earth’s surface. This technology combines information from maps with other data about people, the land, climate, farms, houses, businesses, and much more, allowing multiple sets of data to be displayed on a single map. Many industries and governments use GIS technology for analysis and decision making. For example, GIS data helps officials determine which streams are most in danger of being polluted. It can also help a business decide where to locate a new store. Many thematic maps are now made with the help of GIS technology.
The Mansfield Library has computers with Arc-GIS software installed on them. These computers are accessible with a NetID and password. Ask at the Reference Desk on Level 3 for more information on how to access these computers.
You can access tutorial on how to use ArcGIS through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) open courseware site.
Find physical maps and other publications created using GIS data by accessing the library's online catalog, OneSearch. Examples include:
Create maps using GIS data with one or more of these free, open-source options that you can download to your own computer.
QGIS Tutorial by Klas Karlsson.
For additional QGIS training materials and tutorials, visit their Training Materials webpage.
Aerial imagery remains an important application of remote sensing, with a sophisticated range of cameras being used to collect information on geology, land use, agricultural management, forestry, water pollution, natural disasters, urban planning, wildlife management, and environmental impact assessments.
The Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections holds a limited number of aerial photographs of Montana. For more information about accessing these, please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Additional options for aerial perspectives of the state include:
Orthophotoquads are black and white aerial photos of the same scale as drawn topographic maps (1:24,000). This series was done in the late 1960's and 1970's. The library has limited holdings of these for western Montana. These maps are filed by topographic quad name in the Archives and Special Collections Montana Room.
You can find print soils surveys by looking up the county you need in the library's online catalog, OneSearch. Most soil surveys may be checked out. Soil surveys are also available online through the Web Soil Survey.