• Cartotalk A useful site for the latest GIS and cartographic updates.
  • GIS At Bucknell I found this site as a useful page for links to various GIS programs and opportunities.
  • Mappamond This commercial site has regular updates on GIS data, developments etc. posted on their blog. The focus is on GIS application in the environment.
  • Shaded Relief
  • Story Maps

  • Asitrium: European commercial geospatial imagery company hosting the SPOT satellites and others. There are some sublime relief models amongst their examples.
  • East View Cartographic. This commercial company advertises a wide range of maps and GIS data that you can commercially buy. Prices seem high to me given what is available freely. They even advertise 1:50,000 Sri Lanka sheets at @ US $49! These can be bought here in Colombo for about $1.50! Geo referenced raster images of all these sheets, with associated shapefiles for rivers, contours etc., are also available here through the Survey Department.
  • Digital Globe The is the company that provides much of the imagery in Google Earth.
  • GeoEye A global leader in geospatial imagery (including the IKONOS satellite imagery), also used in Google Earth.
  • MapMart: Commercial providers of mapping data.
  • MBM Systems A German company specializing in 3D maps

  • Earth Observatory: NASA's superb site that highlights satellite photography of the earth to "explore the causes and effects of climatic and environmental change."
  • Earth Resources Observation & Science (EROS) Run by the USGS this is a great site that highlights temporal changes using Landsat and other remote sensing imagery. They have a superb gallery of comparative studies from around the world.
  • Global Land Cover Facility (University of Maryland) One of the best portals for accessing a wide variety of data showing land cover. They specialize in various kinds of remote sensing data from satellites (Aster, Landsat, MODIS, Quick Bird, SRTM etc.). Data can be downloaded via FTP through their Earth Science Data Interface.
  • Earth Now! Landsat Earth Observer (USGS). This site shows the (nearly) real time view of the Landsat satellites as they pass over the United States & Canada. These can then be downloaded on the GloVis (USGS Global Visualization Viewer) site.
  • TerraLook permits users to create their own collections of georeferenced JPEG satellite images. TerraLook images allow for visual interpretation and comparison without the need for complicated software.
  • ToppoMapper. This site uses a mosaic from Landsat 7 to visualize any place in the world.

  • ArcGIS Map Gallery Samples of maps made with ESRI's ArcGIS, the software that we use at OSC.
  • UNOSAT Maps The UN's geospatial arm tasked with providing maps for a variety of hazards and man-made disaster areas. There are excellent maps on India, Sri Lanka and other individual countries in their online catalog.
  • UNEP A great site for exemplar maps.
  • University of Texas Library

  • Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department A site with downloadable digital maps from Bangladesh.
  • BHUVAN:The very useful portal for spatial data gathered from the Indian Remotes Sensing Organization (ISRO). You can view and download a a whole range of different spatial data from India. Being signed in is useful for downloading Awfis imagery etc. For data click on the following link. or the Thematic Mapper.
  • Biodiversity Information System: Created by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) and the Indian Space Research Organizaiton (ISRO) to display and map the biodiversity of India. The data has vegetation types at a 1:50,000 scale.
  • Center for Environmental & Geographical Information Services (CGIS) One of the leading GIS centers in Bangladesh
  • Mizoram Remote Sensing Agency (MIRSAC): This is the state agency running all remote sensing and mapping jobs for other state government agencies. I had a chance to visit them in January 2012 and was impressed with their productivity and impressive atlases (land use, earthquake, etc.). Unfortunately most of their work has to be seen in their office and is not available online.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC): This is India's premier RS organization, based in Hyderabad. It falls under the space agency Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • Reef Base: An online GIS that focuses on the state of coral reefs around the world. There is useful data and imagery on Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
  • Sentinel Asia A Japanese funded organization with multiple nodes that helps channel spatial data to recipients who need it to deal with disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding etc.)
  • Spatial Database for Climate Change Mapping in South Asia. New from IWMI
  • Survey of India Not the most user-friendly or dynamic site, but home to the oldest mapping organization in South Asia. They have more recently added a Web Mapping Service (WMS) and better links to their products.
  • University of Texas Library. The US army published a 1:250,000 series of maps on South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal) in 1955. They are all available for download here!
  • Western Ghats GeoPortal: Thanks to the French Institute, ATREE and others.
  • Western Michigan University US Army Maps: This is a project led by our family friend Professor David Dickason to scan and georeference a treasure trove of 1:250,000 maps of South Asia that were published in the early 1950s. The base map is on Bing Maps.

  • ArcGIS Online This is the relatively new ESRI site where you can download online mapping data and create maps. I am still working on using it fully..
  • Bing Maps Microsoft's answer to Google Maps
  • Earth Explorer: USGS visualizer where you can download GeoTiff files (spatial images that have a spatial reference)
  • ERDAS This is the principal remote sensing software that is being used by global agencies working with spatial information. They have a host of applications.
  • ESRI ArcGIS Explorer similar to Google Earth but with handy interfaces to the ArcMap software that we use. FREE
  • GeoMapApp A downloadable software[package for visualizing and mapping terrain. Provided by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University This is being used be several catrographers, such as Ronald Blakey, to produce stunning maps of the earth's surface.. FREE
  • Global Mapper An easy to use and fast software package to view DEMs and other spatial data. It is modestly priced and you can download a trial version for free.
  • Google Map Maker Newly introduced from Google
  • Google Earth The standard Earth viewer that has revolutionized the way we see the world
  • Maperitive Maperitive is a FREE desktop application for drawing maps based on OpenStreetMap and GPS data. You can define what gets on the map and how it is painted. You can also export these maps into bitmaps and SVG files and print them.
  • MapInfo Commercial Microsoft Windows–based mapping and geographic analysis application GIS software
  • Q-GIS Open source GIS software fro both PC and Mac platforms





  • Clarke, Keith. Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems, 5th Edition. Upper Saddle River, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. Print. Companion website (password required)
  • Heywood, Ian, Sarah Cornelius and Steve Carver. An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, 4th Edition. Essex,Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. Print. Companion website. Instructor's Resources.
  • Horning, Ned et al. Remote Sensing for Ecology & Conservation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
  • Jensen, John R. Remote Sensing of the Environment: An Earth Resource Perspective. Upper Saddle River, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.
  • Kimerling, A. Jon. et al. Map Use, Sixth Edition. Redlands, ESRI Press, 2009. Print. Review of book.
  • O'Connor, Peter. GIS for A-Level Geography. United Kingdom: ESRI UK & Geographical Association, 2008. Print.
  • Palmer, Anita et al. Mapping Our World Using GIS: Our World GIS Education. Redlands, ESRI Press, 2009. Print.