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Mapping & GIS: Web Mapping

This is the LibGuide which contains tutorials on Mapping and Geographic Information Systems, as well as annotated links to useful sources for research and learning in GIS. Many of the tutorials are from past workshops. Please feel free to contact our mapp

Web Mapping

Web mapping is a useful technique to publish interesting spatial data visualization on the web. Although most of the web mapping tools require some understanding of a bit of computer code, JavaScript in particular, one may not need high levels of proficiency in coding to get started with some simple spatial visualizations. There are many resources in the form of free online courses that can help you learn the basics of a web map. This guide provides links to some of these resources in the order of which they may become useful. We begin with resources that are free to Penn users through the benefit of Penn subscription, followed by some online courses to understand basics of web design, and then some simple JavaScript libraries that may help you quickly set up a web map. Although most of the web mapping tools require an understanding of HTML / CSS, there are many tools that allow you to map and perform complex analysis without writing any code at all.  

Penn Libraries provides access to easy-to-use tools for creating maps from data, without GIS experience. These resources are free to Penn users; they should be accessed through the library homepage, or click the links below, in order to get the benefit of the Penn subscription. 

  • Social Explorer: For U.S. demography and historical census data. Also includes U.S. election, Ireland religion, and U.K. 2011 census data. 
  • PolicyMap: Public policy, housing, and a plethora of other data sets for the U.S. 
  • SimplyAnalytics: Marketing data and projections for the U.S. 
  • ArcGIS Online (AGOL): Make maps, Share & collaborate, Analyze data, and Work with your geospatial data. University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff have access to ArcGIS Online (AGOL) through our institutional account. (Email me to set up your organizational account). 


  Emphasis Census Other Data Export Formats Geographies
Social Explorer Demography     1790-2018       Religion PNG, Excel, SAS, Stata, SPSS Census
PolicyMap Policy 2000-2018 Housing, transportation PDF, JPG, CSV Varies by data set
SimplyAnalytics Marketing 2000-2018 Claritas, sales GIF, PDF, Excel, DBF, CSV, shapefile Census, ZIP codes

Web Mapping (guides)

This list contains some helpful coding tools and guides that will help you get the most out of your web mapping experience.

Useful tools and libraries

Web Mapping (without any code)

This is a list of web mapping tools that do not require any knowledge of code to throw some data on to a map and get a neat looking visualization as output. Most of these tools have advance capabilities as well, that can be leveraged using some basic Javascript and SQL. But for this list, only those functionalities are defined that require no code whatsoever.