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Geoliteracy Tools for Arizona Educators: Digital Maps & Map Services

Article Author(s): 

Michael Conway

Natural Resources Conservation ServicesNatural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)

The NRCS broadcasts a marvelous interactive “soils” map service, Web Soil Survey. From their homepage, “Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey.” It is the single best online map service for examining and evaluating soils.

American Memory - Historical Collection for the National Digital LibraryLibrary of Congress – American Memory (AM)

Volume of Digital Maps – 5000+ (including 44 Arizona map products)

Map types – Historic topographic maps, shaded relief maps, panoramas

Map Format – jp2 (jpeg 2000), PDF

Common Map Scales – varies

American Memory: Maps – AM hosts 11 discrete map collections, ranging broadly from military maps of America’s Civil War, to Maps & Cartographic Items, to National Parks, panoramic maps, and more. The repository contains a trove of hard-to-find historic maps. A search for “Arizona” yielded 44 maps, most from the National Parks collection; AM is rich in Grand Canyon historic maps.

The results yielded a classic 1885 panorama: The Bird's eye view of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, sketched by C. J. Dyer. (W. Byrnes litho. Schmidt, Label & Litho. Co.).

Arizona Game and FishArizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD)

HabiMap. Arizona’s newest map service, Habimap, serves up volumes of geospatial data on Arizona’s public lands, its water resources, vegetation, and animals. Some chief themes include: AGFD game management units, Arizona wildlife linkages, biotic communities, hydrography and land ownership.

From AZGF’s HabiMap introduction, “HabiMap™ Arizona is intended to be used as an early planning tool for landscape-level analysis and should be used in concert with all available data and expertise to ensure project plans address wildlife and habitat conservation at all levels.”

Every Arizona teacher engaged in study of the environment and its indigenous inhabitants should become familiar with HabiMap.

Arizona Geological SurveyArizona Geological Survey (AZGS)

Volume of Digital Maps – 100s

Map types – Geologic / Geohazard maps

Map Format – PDF

Common Map Scales – 1:24,000, 100,000

AZGS Document Repository. The repository comprises hundreds of AZGS maps and geologic reports from 1915 to 2011. Roughly 85% of all reports and maps published by AZGS and their predecessors ( Arizona Bureau of Mines, and Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology) are now freely available as PDF downloads.

Additionally, our home site,, provides a growing number of online map services.

Geologic Map of Arizona - Opens in a Google map environment, but also published as KML, ArcGIS, WMS, and WFS web services for use in other client applications.

Holbrook Basin Potash Deposit – Opens in Google Map environment.

Earth Fissure Viewer – Displays the distribution of earth fissures in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima and Cochise Counties in Google Map environment.

Interactive Arizona Seismic Station Map – Relies on the Rapid Earthquake Viewer at the University of South Carolina for daily seismograms, with near-real time updates, for the seven broadband seismic stations operated by AZGS.

Chief, Geologic Extension Service
AZ Geological Survey

Visit the Arizona Experience Store
Visit the Arizona Experience Store
AZGS Digital Document Repository
AZGS Earth Fissure Viewer
State Geothermal