Mapping for the Masses: GIS Lite & Online Mapping Tools in Academic Libraries


  • Kathleen W. Weessies Michigan State University
  • Daniel S. Dotson The Ohio State University



Customized colorful maps depicting complex social data are much more prevalent today than in the past. Not only in formal published outlets, interactive map sites make it easy to create and publish custom maps in more casual outlets such as social media. This article defines GIS Lite, describes three licensed products currently licensed by institutions, and discusses issues that arise from their varied functionality and license restrictions.


Author Biographies

Kathleen W. Weessies, Michigan State University

Geosciences Librarian and Head of the Map Library, Librarian II, MSU Libraries

Daniel S. Dotson, The Ohio State University

Mathematical Sciences Librarian and Science Education Specialist, Associate Professor, University Libraries


Works Cited:

National Research Council. Division on Earth and Life Studies. Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. Geographical Sciences Committee, Learning to Think Spatially (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2006), 9.

Fu, Pinde and Jiulin Sun, Web GIS: Principles and Applications (Redlands, CA: ESRI Press, 2011), 15.

Haklay, Muki, Alex Singleton and Chris Parker, “Web mapping 2.0: The Neogeography of the GeoWeb,” Geography Compass 2, no. 6 (2008): 2011-2039.

Crampton, Jeremy W, “Cartography: Maps 2.0,” Progress in Human Geography 33, no. 1 (2009): 91-100.

Elwood, Sarah, “Geographic Information Science: Visualization, Visual Methods, and the GeoWeb,” Progress in Human Geography 35, no. 3 (2010): 401-408.

Li, Songnian; Suzana Dragićević, and Bert Veenendaal (eds), Advances in Web-based GIS, Mapping Services and Applications (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2011).

Hogenboom, Karen, Carissa Phillips, and Merinda Hensley, "Show Me the Data! Partnering with Instructors to Teach Data Literacy," in Declaration of Interdependence: The Proceedings of the ACRL 2011 Conference, March 30-April 2, 2011, Philadelphia, PA, ed. Dawn M. Mueller. (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2011), 410-417.

Gray, Ann S., “Data and Statistical Literacy for Librarians,” IASSIST Quarterly 28 no. 2/3 (2004): 24-29.

Weimer, Kathy, Paige Andrew, Tracey Hughes, Map, GIS and Cataloging / Metadata Librarian Core Competencies (Chicago: American Library Association Map and Geography Round Table, 2008),

Fitch, Catherine and Steven Ruggles, Building the National Historical Geographic Information System Historical Methods 36, no. 1 (2003): 41-50.

U. S. Bureau of Census. County and City Data Book,

Census Tracts and Block Numbering Areas.

Resources Referenced:

Google Maps.

Map Quest.

National Hazards Support System.

National Pipeline Mapping System.

The Broadband Map.

ArcGIS Online.

Scribble Maps.

Open Street Map.

Did You Feel It?


Social Explorer.

National Historical GIS.



Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.




How to Cite

Weessies, K. W., & Dotson, D. S. (2013). Mapping for the Masses: GIS Lite & Online Mapping Tools in Academic Libraries. Information Technology and Libraries, 32(1), 23–35.