Monday, April 27, 2009

Finding Maps Online - Energy Resources

We had a question at the desk the other day from a student who wanted to find a map of Russia that showed the distribution of fossil fuel resources - oil and gas fields, coal deposits, etc, to include in a powerpoint presentation. Sometimes you can get lucky doing a Google Image search, but sometimes not.

One good source for maps is the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection. They've scanned a good deal of their paper collection and provide it online and you can search or browse by place or topic. If they don't have what you're looking for, they have an extensive collection of links to other sites, also by place and topic. In this case I was able to find a few decent maps, but they would not translate well into powerpoint given their size and scale.

I was working with Peggy, and she approached it from the topic - she went to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is the federal government's site for energy stats. There is a lot of good info there, particularly profiles and reports for energy resources for each country. The country analysis report page for Russia had a lot of data, and in a menu on the right of the page was a link for maps. The maps came from a variety of sources (EIA, CIA, and the U Texas Map Library) and were perfect for the powerpoint. The bad news is that there is no easy way to get to them - there isn't a maps page or gateway, you have to go through a number of clicks via individual country reports. There was a general maps portal, but this gave you the ability to create thematic maps of the world (countries shaded a particular color based on type or amount of reserves), and not reference maps (showing the location of actual fields and deposits).

The gist of this post - try the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Library Collection for maps and the Energy Information Administration for energy related statistics, data, and maps.

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