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Geographical data

The subheadings in this section will link you to some different types of maps, map services and geographical data sources on the Internet. The geographical extent is from world coverage to national and city map level. There are also some thematic maps showing, for example, statistics, topography and geology.

 As a student or staff at Lund University, you have access to various digital geographical data for which the University are paying license fees. Click on the links in the menu to the left to retrieve respective information and/or data.

Inserting Maps into Documents

Many maps you find on the Internet are protected by copyright laws, and can thereby only be used for private, personal purposes. But there are some maps published for free use, meaning you can copy, edit, distribute and publish them. ALWAYS check for copyright information about material you find and want to use from the Internet. If it is NOT clearly stated that an map is NOT copyrighted, it IS. Below are the practical steps for inserting a map, stored as an image file, into a document. But first some tip on Copyright: Top 10 Copyright Myths page from UK Copyright Service.


The simplest and quickest way to copy a map is by right-clicking on the image in your web browser and choosing copy from the menu which appears (see image to the right). In a document, once the cursor is placed at the proper location, the map can thereafter be inserted by choosing Paste from the Edit menu (or by right-clicking again).

Saving a map can be done by simply choosing Save Picture/Image from the appearing menu when right-clicking, instead of Copy.

Once a map is in a document, its appearance can easily be edited by adding additional objects, like for example, text, arrows and lines. Most word processors, like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice

Example 1: Retrieve a map of Skåne and inserting it in a document.
Example 2: Retrieve a map of Venezuela and inserting it in a document.


Image formats

Most maps you find on the Internet are saved as pictures, but interactive databases are also available. There are many different picture formats, which affect its quality and size. For users that may not work regularly with digital pictures and/or editing programs, it might be somewhat difficult to know which format is ideal for a specific task. Find below a short description of some of the most popular formats available on the Internet.

GIF (Graphic Image File Format)
GIF is the oldest picture format on the Internet. This format uses a compression algorithm (Lempel-Ziv-Welch) to reduce the file’s size by not saving all pixels. If many adjacent pixels have the save value (colour), only the first one will be saved through a method called “run-length encoding”. This format can only save pictures up to 8-bit pixels (256 colours). More information about GIF.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
PNG has approximately the same functions as GIF, but does not include the same compression technique and can save up to 16 million colours. It is a lossless format meaning the compression does not decrease picture quality but the file size can be bigger than for other formats. It is best suited for storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics. More information about PNG.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
JPEG is mostly used for photographs and pictures that have more than 256 colours. JPEG is actually a compression algorithm, and not a “format”. Pictures saved in JPEG on the Internet are actually JFIF (JPEG File Interchange Format). JPEG works with 24-bit pictures and does not take in consideration if your screen can display all colours or not. A GIF picture will look exactly the same on a 8 or 24-bit screen, but a JPEG which looks fantastic on a 24-bit screen will not do so on a 8-bit screen. More information about JPEG.

For more information about picture formats:
FAQ – index

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