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Maps & Geospatial: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Resources to discover GIS data, learn about GIS, and provide references for research.

Finding GIS Data

These pages identify sources of geospatial data and resources with a primary focus on governmental sources and vector data resources. These sites have been reviewed; however, is not a comprehensive list of sources.

Spatial data includes a geographic component, which can span global, national, regional, and local scales. Vector data identifies specific elements represented as points, lines, and areas. Common vector formats include shapefiles, kml (keyhole markup language), and geodatabases. Raster data is represented by cells or pixels, with each cell representing a value. Websites may provide spatial data in different formats, which have to be converted to desired formats for use with other datasets.


Contour lines

Contour lines represent lines of equal height (elevation) above or below sea level. Contour lines can be useful when determining how steep or flat an area is. Contour lines are present on topographic maps. In addition, contours can be used in vector format in other software. 

CAD (Computer-aided Design)

For specific disciplines, there may be interest in converting shapefiles to CAD files.  Examples include converting building footprints and contour lines from shapefile format to CAD format.