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Mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) : Finding Geospatial Data: United States

Information on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), maps and mapping tools/software & digital map/geospatial data resrouces

United States Data Resources


Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal

 Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal

The BTAA Geoportal provides discoverability and facilitates access to geospatial resources. The resources in the portal are selected and curated by librarians and geospatial specialists at twelve research institutions in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Resources include GIS datasets, web services, and digitized historical maps .




ArcGIS Online
ArcGIS Online hosts maps and data that can be used in a GIS.  Sign up for a free account or use an Organizational Account to search the data holdings. UW-Madison's Organizational URL is:


Atlas of the Biosphere : Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE)
"The idea behind this website is simple: gather as much information about the environment as possible, and deliver it to as many people as possible. We are dedicated to bringing environmental information to the widest possible audience. Although we specifically target high school to university students and teachers, anyone can benefit from a stroll through our collection".


Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is meant to be a resource for people seeking records of past events, and people trying to analyze, interpret and display county-based historical data like returns of elections and censuses, and for people working on state and local history projects. The special interests of those potential users range from history to demography, economics, genealogy, geography, law, and politics. While many of these goals can be achieved using the Atlas' Interactive Maps, the downloadable data can be used with various GIS (Geographic Information Systems) programs to create specialized projects.


Census Bureau TIGER and TIGER/Line Mapping Center
Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) product information from the US Census Bureau, including up-to-date U.S. Census boundary shapefiles and relationship files.


Census Bureau "On The Map" - Employment and Worker Statistics/Maps
OnTheMap Version 6 is the sixth generation of OnTheMap, a web-based mapping and reporting application that shows where workers are employed and where they live. It also provides companion reports on age, earnings, industry distributions, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and sex.


College Scorecard - Data on US Colleges from the US Department of Education

Cropland Data Layer (USDA)
The Spatial Analysis Reseach Section released the 2009 Cropland Data Layer (CDL) for ALL Continental US States. All state products were issued in unsmoothed format, with the exception of Florida (i.e., citrus smoothing applied) with associated metadata. The file sizes are quite large and range between 13 - 100 megabytes per download.

DATA.GOV (Tabular and Statistical data from federal agencies)  Data can be limited by "type" as "geospatial".


EarthExplorer: USGS Geographic Data Download
Quick links to many of the popular USGS raster datasets for direct downloading including Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), National Elevation Dataset (NED), National Land Use & Land Cover (LULC), and the National hydrology Dataset (NHD).


Economic Data Resources : USDA ERS
ERS's highly trained economists and social scientists conduct research, analyze food and commodity markets, produce policy studies, and develop economic and statistical indicators. The agency’s research program is aimed at the information needs of USDA, other public policy officials, and the research community. ERS information and analysis is also used by the media, trade associations, public interest groups, and the general public. The Agency's work is structured among four Divisions:

ELEVATION DATA: United States Interagency Elevation Inventory
The U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory displays high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort between NOAA and the U.S. Geological Survey, with contributions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This resource is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic data, including lidar and IfSAR, and bathymetric data, including NOAA hydrographic surveys, multibeam data, and bathymetric lidar. This inventory was completed May 2012 and will be updated annually.


FEMA Map Service Center
Flood Rate Insurance Maps [FIRMs] on the Web

Forest Service Geospatial Clearinghouse (USFS)
Raster and vector forest data, state and private forestry assessment data, maps, etc.


Geospatial Data Gateway
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This site includes county and state level data, including but not limited to: DRGs, DEMs, census data, land cover, quad indexes, digital orthophotos, etc.

The GIS Data Depot
(GeoCommunity Data Clearinghouse) Available data include DOQQs, DRGs, DEMs, Census data, hydrology, land use/land cover, etc.


Historic U.S. Congressional Districts – UCLA Political Science
This site provides digital boundary definitions for every U.S. Congressional District in use between 1789 and 2012. These were produced as part of NSF grant SBE-SES-0241647 between 2009 and 2013.


Housing and Urban Development (U.S.) Open Data – In addition to this open data site, the entire HUD enterprise GIS platform is available for finding data as well as mapping applications and web-based GIS

Midwestern Regional Climate Center (and Cli-MATE data portal)
The Midwestern Regional Climate Center is a cooperative program between the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Our center is a partner in a national climate service program that includes NCEI, five other Regional Climate Centers, and State Climate Offices. The NCEI is part of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The MRCC serves the nine-state Midwest region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin). Our services and research help to better explain climate and its impacts on the Midwest, provide practical solutions to specific climate problems, and allow us to develop climate information for the Midwest on climate-sensitive issues such as agriculture, climate change, energy, the environment, human health, risk management, transportation, and water resources.


Mineral Resources Data System
MRDS is a collection of reports describing metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources throughout the world. Included are deposit name, location, commodity, deposit description, geologic characteristics, production, reserves, resources, and references. It subsumes the original MRDS and MAS/MILS. MRDS is large, complex, and somewhat problematic. This service provides a subset of the database comprised of those data fields deemed most useful and which most frequently contain some information, but full reports of most records are available as well.


National Historical GIS - Historic US census demographic data and boundary files back to 1790

The National Spatial Data Infrastructure Clearinghouse
(NSDI) - Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)


The National Wetlands Inventory
Digital wetlands data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Habitat Assessment.

NOAA NowCoast
National Weather Service GIS data and maps available from the NowCoast Map Viewer.


USGS Digital Topographic Map Download
Download free USGS topographic maps at various scales. Use the "Map Locator" to select a site, view the quad boundaries and download a PDF.