For the map and geography geek in you…

For those of you who are map and geography geeks like me, I’ve just released a new tool I created on Google Maps that I hope you find both informative and maybe even fun!

I named the tool Location Explorer on Google Maps.

Think of it as kind of a “drill-down” for any chosen U.S. location — be it a place or address. Not sure how to best describe it…so let’s use pictures:

For the above example, I simply typed an address in Salt Lake City, and the 12 above maps appeared.  The maps show all of the following “topics” for your chosen location (the address or place you typed), depicted by the red dot:

  • City Limits
  • County Lines
  • State Lines
  • ZIP Code Boundaries
  • Area Code Boundaries
  • US Congressional District Boundaries
  • Latitude and Longitude (by request, I’ve also added Township and Range to this map window, where applicable)
  • Watershed (also known as Drainage Basin)
  • Closest National Park or National Forest, including boundaries
  • Elevation
  • Slope (the steepness of the land)
  • Aspect (the compass direction the land slopes down in)

In addition to seeing the above topics on the 12 maps, the name or other relevant information for each topic is labeled in the upper right corner of each map.

If the map isn’t exactly where you want to see the above information for, you can simply click any of the maps at a new nearby location or just type a new location above.  You can also zoom in or out using the + and – buttons in the upper left of the first map or last map.  Note that all of the maps stay “in sync” with each other as you change locations.

One thing…please be patient as the map layers the tool uses are very large, and the maps may take up to 10-15 seconds to finish drawing.  To get a much more detailed understanding of how to best use the tool, and exactly what is depicted on the maps, be sure and read the detailed tips and coverage notes below the map on the page.

NEW:  You can also view several different climate topics for any U.S. location, as described underneath the tool.  It looks something like this:

I hope you have as much fun exploring the tool as I’ve had building it!  And yes, you can definitely call me a geogeek.

(As a reminder, if you want to explore many of these topics individually on a large Google Map, you can use these tools:  County Lines on Google Maps, City Limits on Google Maps, ZIP Codes on Google Maps and Area Codes on Google Maps.  For historical county lines, use Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps)


3 thoughts on “For the map and geography geek in you…”

  1. So cool! Would love to see it as a chrome extension that could be applied on top of the actual site, but I understand if you don't think that's worth the work

  2. Fantastic tool! 12 answers for one query.
    Randy – great work.
    Next challenge: Map historical Section / Range x Township to current GPS. Like for California Township Branch County MI: overlay Sections 1-36 from 1840 onto today's map.

    • Hi PColl, I've created a couple of new tools that might help you further:

      First, if you want Townships as in Township/Range/Section, I've just released a new tool called Township Range on Google Maps that maps them all the way down to the quarter quarter section. You can search by address, place, GPS coordinates, or do a reverse find by Section, Township, Range.

      Next, if you want townships (e.g. the level between county and city in many states), they can be found on both the City Limits on Google Maps tool and the County Lines on Google Maps tool by checking the box in the lower left corner of the map.

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