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Maps on the Web can serve a variety of purposes for any practitioner, whether charting crime statistics or helping plan a business trip. Interactive mapping services prove especially useful for anyone who needs to produce customized maps showing demographic or geographic data. The Web sites listed below provide a varied selection of maps. Because many of the graphics displayed on these sites are large computer files, a broadband Internet connection is a big help. U.S. Geological Survey mapping.usgs.gov Someone with a little curiosity could spend hours browsing this site for government-generated maps. The link to the National Atlas of the United States takes a user to an interactive map-building site that can create customized maps with overlays of such information as climate, geology, environment, demographics, agriculture — even volcanoes. Another interesting part of the site is the Seamless Data Distribution System, which can be reached through the link to the Web Mapping Portal. This site also is a good place to order USGS topographic quadrangle maps and aerial photos. Vera Institute of Justice www.vera.org Follow links to “Crimes and Victimization” and “Police Crime Statistics Locator” to find details on crimes in Texas cities such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso, as well as many other U.S. cities. Interactive maps show crimes by location in those cities, some based on geographic areas and some based on police beats. Mapquest www.mapquest.com One of the best-known online mapping services is Mapquest. This is a good starting place for finding driving directions between any two places in the United States. Just type in a starting place and a destination, and the site will generate a customized map showing the best route between the two locations. It also provides an estimated traveling time and detailed directions that lead a traveler through every turn. Mapquest covers the United States and Europe. U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/ For demographic data about any location in the United States — from a tiny burg to the entire United States — the best place to go is the U.S. Census Bureau. The online mapping link can drill down to a geographic location and provide such minutiae as the number of people who walk to work in a particular city. University of Texas Library Online www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ This university site features maps relating to current events, such as tracking the West Nile virus, Afghanistan, Israel and more. The maps of Texas offer a wealth of geographic and demographic information. Dozens of Texas city maps from Abilene to Zapata show the usual topographic features, and some provide such extras as Superfund sites, tourist attractions and foreign trade zones. FedStats www.fedstats.gov/qf/ The federal government makes much of its official statistical information available on the Web at FedStats. The MapStats section allows a user to find detailed information on people, business and geography for individual counties.

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