Maps & Geospatial services
Maps have been produced under the auspices of the United Nations since the founding of the Organization in 1946. Maps can form the principal part of a United Nations document, be ancillary to other materials, or a part of proceedings of meetings in the Organization. Maps, whether traditional digital maps or web-maps, are the main medium to present and visualize geospatial information. Today, maps and geospatial services provide Member States and territories an acute awareness in the context of global, regional, and national challenges. Geospatial maps and services allow to monitor situation worldwide, perform advanced analytics or evaluate trends on specific themes, including through the use of earth observations and imagery from satellites or drones. Geospatial web services support the mandates and operations of the Organization and provide perspectives on past and future challenges. Further information is available on Secretariat services.
Maps and geospatial information services of the United Nations may be used following the terms detailed under the heading map permission.
General maps, sometimes referred to as “profile maps,” were publications originally intended to raise awareness of the location on the globe of Member States, and during decolonization from administering powers, as recognition of political independence and territorial integrity as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Today, general maps remain useful in providing an overview of Member States and territories worldwide including their overall international context, main populated places, administrative units, general infrastructure, and hydrology. Consult our current general maps.
With the advent of the Internet and web technologies, the availability of web-mapping services online grew, using standard protocols developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium. While traditional maps are useful in depicting and providing insights on a situation at a given time, the use of web services enables a situation to be monitored as it evolves, reflecting changes in real time. The combination of multiple web services in a new web-map interface enables users to discover multiple layers of information in a dynamic manner through a web browser. Explore our web-mapping and web-feature services.
Thematic geospatial analysis and visualization of global, regional, and national events provides an acute awareness of challenges and trends and informs decision-making. Geospatial analysis and visualization materials are prepared, often in conjunction with substantive offices, in support of the main mandates and pillars of the Organization on Peace and Security, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, and the Rule of Law. Explore the thematic products prepared in support of the mandates of the Organization.
Earth observations play an ever-increasing role in the delivery and monitoring of mandates, resolutions, and activities of the United Nations. Optical images, radar and other remotely sensed data can be collected using satellite sensors and un-manned vehicles or air fleet (planes or helicopters) and have a wide range of applications in the context of peace and security, sustainable development, humanitarian response, human rights or international law. Investigate the use of satellite and other platforms’ earth observations data used in the United Nations.
For the 75 year-long history of the Organization, maps have been an integral part of its actions, a testimony to its role, and a contribution to international relationships and involvement in addressing global challenges. Cartography has been at the heart of the history and negotiations of the Organization. Discover our unique cartographic collection through our digital map archives, which cover a wide range of topics including decolonization, the environment, health, peacekeeping, climate change, socioeconomics, and human rights. Unveil over 10,000 cartographic publications (and counting) from our digital archives produced by the United Nations.