Library of Congress Creates Smart Maps, Giving Policy Makers the Big Picture

Map Book Shows How Geospatial Analysis Helps Legislators Better Visualize and Clarify Issues Facing the Nation

Redlands, California—A new book showcases analytical maps created by the Library of Congress using powerful geographic information systems (GIS). The book explains how the maps help Capitol Hill legislators easily visualize and assess issues, trends, and crises.

Mapping for Congress: Supporting Public Policy with GIS, published by ESRI, presents some of the best examples of how the library’s Congressional Cartography Program uses GIS technology to analyze and map everything from the potential hazard zones around a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in New Jersey to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina flooding. The book, filled with colorful maps created using GIS, also defines GIS, explains its value, and describes how policy makers—at every level of government—could benefit from incorporating the technology into management and decision making.

"GIS technology is providing access to our country’s cultural and physical geographic knowledge," says ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "This is helping local, state, and federal agencies make better decisions and more effectively coordinate their efforts. Finally, GIS is helping governments at all levels connect with their citizens in a visual and analytical framework that is easy to understand."

The Congressional Cartography Program’s GIS staff produced more than 25 maps that dealt with transportation, social welfare, health care, environmental management, and other public policy issues. Congress members and other policy makers, often during committee meetings, use the maps to better visualize the scope of problems or issues before taking action.

In addition, maps of the United States created by ESRI staff using GIS software, demographic data, and Community Tapestry segmentation illustrate trends in technology, population, transportation, personal finance, education, and health. The maps demonstrate the visual power of data analyzed and mapped using GIS; for example, they may show the percentages and locations of the following:
• People aged 85 and older
• Medicare and Medicaid recipients
• Online shoppers
• 401(k) participants
• High school dropouts
• Cell phone and personal computer users
• Hispanic, Asian, and black populations

Mapping for Congress: Supporting Public Policy with GIS (ISBN 1-58948-145- 3, 93 pages, $14.95) is available at online retailers and bookstores worldwide or can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-447- 9778. Outside the United States, contact your local ESRI distributor. Visit for a current distributor list. ESRI Press books are distributed to the trade by Ingram Publisher Services. Call 1-800-648-3104 or visit

About ESRI Press
ESRI Press publishes books on GIS, cartography, and the application of spatial analysis to many areas of public and private endeavor including land-use planning, health care, education, business, government, and science. The complete selection of GIS titles from ESRI Press can be found on the Web at

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit ESRI at

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