Online Map Viewers and Map Making

Web-based GIS mapping services are readily available for exploratory use, offering interactive map displays of selected variables.


American Fact Finder logo


American FactFinder provides tools for creating, viewing, printing, and downloading reference and thematic maps based on U.S. Census data. An online tutorial leads users through the mapping procedures.


ArcExplorer is ESRI’s GIS data viewer that lets you perform basic GIS functions (free).

GeoCommons provides tools enabling non-technical professionals to create interactive maps and to access geographic data in different formats (free). Also, explore current events with maps of the news.

Mapzen was a community-based mapping tool that allows contributions to OpenStreetMap and links with social networking sites. For related mapping tools within the framework of neo-geography for interactive Web and mobile mapping, see CloudMade.


Social Explorer logo


Social Explorer allows for visualization of demographic information about the United States from 1790 to present. Free edition and a more advanced subscription service.


      The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, named

Social Explorer

      as an “

Outstanding Reference Source

    ” (the only online research tool featured among awardees in 2010)

US National Atlas Map Maker permits selection and mapping of multiple thematic layers.

Santa Barbara County Online GIS, My Property, allows users to access and map land and property data in relation to County Zoning, Land Use, Voting Precincts, School Districts, Political Boundaries, Flood Zones, and Fire Severity, etc.


Last modified: April 1, 2014