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Sources for Geographic Data


NASA and the University of Maryland maintain the Global Land Cover Facility which collects satellite data on land cover for the entire world.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has produced the Atlas of Urban Expansion which provides downloadable maps and data related to the geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion and its key attributes in cities the world over.

NASA and CIESEN/Columbia University maintain the World Data Center which "provides access to a wide range of global data, associated documentation, and visualization and analysis tools, and to the community of experts on global data."

NACIS and many volunteers support Natural Earth which is a "public domain map dataset ... featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with which you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with GIS software."

A-to-Z Maps Online (accessed via Burke Library) includes a GIS Data tab with a number of sub-menus categorizing hundreds of GIS data sources.

The World Bank's Data and Research portal provides a wide variety of data, some of which is geographic.

The World Bank's Open Data Initiative includes an online data catalog with data in formats such as Excel.

United States

The Department of the Interior maintains a Geospatial One-Stop Portal for federal, state and local geographic data.

The Federal Geographic Data Committee coordinates the sharing of geographic data through an online portal that searches metadata held within the NSDI Clearinghouse network.

The Census Bureau maintains the American Factfinder website, from which one can download census data in GIS-readable format; see especially the datasets at TIGER Products.

For historical census data, visit the National Historical Geographic Information System, housed at the University of Minnesota.

For historical topographical maps, visit the National Map's Historical Topographic Map Collection, high-resolution scans of more than 178,000 historical topographic maps of the United States.

DataPlace "is your free online source for housing and demographic data about your community, your region, and the nation."

ESRI maintains a website of downloadable data, including data which is free of charge (such as US Census TIGER/Line files).

Hamilton's own Dave Tewksbury provided the extensive and carefully-vetted list of GIS sources for all states on the SERC-Carleton web site.  Thanks, Dave!

New York State

New York State data is maintained by the New York State GIS Clearinghouse.  

NYS Orthos allows you to download data via an interactive application. You can also download orthoimagery directly at NYS Statewide Digital Orthoimagery.

The Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository is also a clearinghouse for information about New York State.

The New York State Museum provides a nice collection of datasets for New York State.

There a some interesting layers at the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Atlas: Data Viewer .

Links to GIS Data Provided by Research Universities

The University of Oregon, by state, also electronic atlases

UNC GIS Data Finder, by themes (e.g., social, economic)

Rice University Fondren Library GIS Clearinghouses by State

MIT GIS Services

Michigan State Libraries

Georgia State University GIS Research Guides

Stanford University Websites for Digital GIS Data

Duke University Data and GIS Services

GIS @ University of Chicago

University of Colorado

Cornell University Mann Library GIS Data Sources

Tufts University Geospatial Data Repository

UC Santa Barbara Globetrotter


Miscellaneous and Commercial Sources

The American Association of Geographers has lists of databases, maps & atlases, historical gazetteers and GIS.

OpenGeoPortal.org is a "collaboratively developed, open source, federated web application to rapidly discover, preview, and retrieve geospatial data from multiple repositories."

The Geocommunity website bills itself as the "premier on-line resource for GIS and geospatial data."

New Urban Research, Inc., provides some data and shapefiles for free and some for a small charge at Primary Data Source.

Neat trick at Wikipedia: in the right-hand column, click the coordinates under the locator map to see a page of available data sources.

Econdata Data Collections includes a section of links to mapping resources.


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