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Geospatial Resources for Architecture and Engineering

Climate & Topography



  • National Geologic Map Database Topo View : Access current and historic topographic maps.  Maps are available to view online and for free download.  Zoom into your area of interest, click on the map, and then go to Maps Here to see available maps .  Scales and publication dates vary.
  • USGS Map Locator and Downloader : Free downloads of topographic maps are available from the U.S. Geological Survey.  Zoom and scroll to the needed  location in the map search box.  Select the Mark Points option to the right of the map. Click on the map in your area of interest.  Click on the red place marker to view the maps available for download.  Maps are also available for purchase via this list by clicking on the "buy" link.

Historic and Current

Available in print form at the ASU Library Map Collection.


Soils - For soil maps of Moeur Park or San Tan Regional Park, see files listed on GIS Resources tab.  For other study areas, use a USDA soil survey such as the Soil survey, eastern Maricopa and northern Pinal Counties area, Arizona.  Contains structural engineering information, along with some flora/fauna information associated with particular soils.  The text of this soil survey is available online.  GIS Soil Shapefiles that correspond to these soil surveys are available for the entire State of Arizona via the ASU GIS Data Repository (Under... AZ_Data_by_Topic\Natural_Features\Soils).  These Shapefiles can be converted to KML or CAD files using Esri's ArcMap's Toolbox Conversion Tools.  ASU Students, Faculty, Staff have access to ArcMap through MyASU MyApps.

Air Quality - Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  Air monitoring plans and annual reports back to year 2000.


USGS Water Resources of Arizona

USGS Water Resources of the United States

USGS Groundwater depth - Interactive atlas of groundwater levels

USGS Water Data for the Nation - Surface water, groundwater, and water quality data and mapper for the U.S.

Water Resources Information Center  - From the University of Arizona.

Watershed - Surf Your Watershed - EPA watershed profile for the lower Salt River.

Pollution - Pollution Locator - created by UC-Berkeley.

Shadow Direction and Length

United States Naval Observatory Sun Altitude and Azimuth Table Calculator  For a given day, provides the altitude of the sun (angle of the sun above the horizon) and the azimuth (Compass direction from where the sun is shining. Add or subtract 180 degrees to calculate the direction of the shadow.)

Sandburg Center for Sky Awareness - Shadow Length Calculator Calculates the length of an object's shadow base on the altitude of the sun.

Geology -

Arizona Geological Survey Geological and ground structure information is available online.

Geological maps are available at the Map Collection.

Flora & Fauna

Birds of North America : provides comprehensive life histories for over 760 species of birds breeding in the USA (including Hawaii) and Canada.

All About Birds : can search by topic, name or shape, includes brief articles.

Map of Life : Allows one to retrieve a list of species for the vicinity of any location worldwide.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) GIS data for Arizona - Contains a variety of shapefiles and coverages for ecological, habitat, mineral, and wildlife management areas within Arizona.  (Requires use of GIS software such as ArcGIS Explorer or ArcGIS.)

Historical Background

The Arizona Collection in Hayden Library Special Collections & Archives- view photographs and other historical materials on Arizona history in the Luhrs Reading Room (limited hours-check website).

Local History- see City of Tempe and Tempe History Museum websites to search subjects such as Loma Del Rio Archaeological Site, and WPA Structures.

Newspapers - Arizona Republic - limit search by data ranges.

Archeology journals - Anthropology Plus - archeological research from Harvard University and the Royal Anthropological Institute in the UK. 

Library Catalog - search for books or thematic maps. [Canal Maps,  Vegetation, Irrigated Land....]

Digital Sanborn Mapsmaps of Tempe, select years from 1890 to 1927.

Arizona Memory Project - Map Collection at the AZ State Library. 

Aerial Photography

Maricopa County Historical Aerial Photography, 1930 to the present available through the Maricopa County Office of Enterprise Technology.

Landiscor Photo Atlases - 1970 to 2005.  Annual aerial photography and zoning information. Available in the ASU Library Map Collection.

Maricopa County Tax Assessor Aerial Photography - various years, 1986 to 1996 available in the Map Collection.

AZ Geo Imagery ServerDetailed aerial photography from 2005, 2007, and 2010.

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