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Maps, Aerial Photographs, and GIS (MAGIS): GIS Data

Information about the physical and digital collections in Maps, Aerial Photos, and Geographic Information Systems. Also the GIS Lab and GIS data and imagery sources.


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Commercial Imagery Sources

These companies are known to have large imagery libraries available. No endorsement is implied.


Pacific Islands

Asia-Pacific Data Research Center (UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology)
Oceanographic and atmospheric data. Some data is restricted use. Consult the tutorial on using these datasets.

Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary GIS Data Archive
This site hosts lots of data for American Samoa.

Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) Voyager
An interactive map interface for visualizing and downloading oceanographic observations, forecasts, and other geospatial data and information related to the marine environment and beyond. Primary geographic focus at PacIOOS is on Hawaiʻi and other U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands throughout Polynesia and Micronesia: American Samoa,Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,  Federated States of Micronesia , Guam, Hawaiʻi, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau. U.S. Minor Outlying Islands are also included.

SOPAC Map and Spatial Data Repository  -- requires password.
See member countries for geographic extent.

United States
Provides access to "high-value" data of federal agencies. acts a one-stop shop for geospatial data, with over 160,000 datasets registered in the Data Catalog

Download aerial photography, satellite imagery, elevation, and landcover datasets.

      Tutorial: Finding Aerial Photography and Images using EarthExplorer (MIT Libraries)

National Map
Download orthoimagery, elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover.

      Tutorial: How to download data from the National Map Viewer (MIT Libraries)

GIS Data by State
Links to state data portals.


Regions and Selected Countries

Afghanistan (USGS)

Australia Data and Applications (Australian Government/Geoscience Australia)

Japan (Harvard University)

Eurostats GeoData

China Data Center (Univ. of Michigan)

China Map (Harvard)
You must register in order to download maps or data.

Ina-Geoportal (Indonesia)

LINZ Data Service (New Zealand)


Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)
A broad variety of worldwide and country datasets.

Files provided on this site are created from OpenStreetMap map data. Because OpenStreetMap is a work in progress many of the countries are only partially mapped or are incomplete.

Esri Data and Maps
Publicly accessible layer files for use in ArcGIS. Searchable using box in upper right-hand corner of page.

OpenStreetMap Data
Free crowd-sourced data. Download data package for a large-scale area. Other data packages downloadable at these sites:

      Planet OSM
      Regularly-updated copies of the complete OpenStreetMap database

      Regularly-updated extracts of continents, countries, and selected cities.

      Metro Extracts 
      Extracts for major world cities and their surrounding areas

      Data packaged by country. Available feature layers and data details.

UN Data
Downloadable tabular data for a broad range of indicators at the country level. Data are in various time series.

GIS Data Depot
Index to fee-based and free data at the country level as well as bundled data from the U.S. government ($). Search the site, including forums. Add 'data' to your search to limit search to data.

Selected GIS Data Repositories
Data may be licensed for local users only.





What is metadata? (YouTube video)

Examples of Metadata

FGDC metadata on topo quads.

Administrative and Political Boundaries

Country Boundaries
 A dataset of country boundaries, incorporating changes in the period 1946-2012.

Global Administrative Areas (GADM)
Countries and lower level subdivisions such as provinces and departments.

ESRI Data & Maps for ArcGIS
A good source for administrative boundaries, countries, U.S. states and counties, and other vector data.

Agricultural and Farming

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Soils, land use and land cover, NAIP imagery.

FAO GeoNetwork
Interactive maps, GIS datasets, satellite imagery, and related applications. See Statistics for additional data.

FEWS NET Data Portals
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (U.S. AID)
Africa, Central America, Caribbean, & Mexico; Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia.

US Forest Service Geodata Clearinghouse
Download data from Land Status Record System (LSRS) and 7.5' Forest Service topographic maps (pdf and geotiff). Includes state and private forestry assessment data.

Atmospheric and Climatic

National Weather Service GIS Data Portal

Global Change Master Directory

Web mapping portal to real-time coastal observations and NOAA forecasts.

IPCC Data Distribution Centre (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
This site has climate, socio-economic and environmental data, both from the past and also in scenarios projected into the future. It is is designed primarily for climate change researchers--finding the data you are looking for may not be straightforward.

Biologic and Ecologic

BISON (Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation)
U.S. species occurrence data

Data Basin
Conservation databases. Includes socioeconomic data.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Land Cover Data links (Land Cover Institute)
Includes U.S. and worldwide data.

Interagency vegetation, fire, and fuel characteristicsmapping program. Data is at a 30 meter resolution and most appropriate for a  landscape-scale.

Pacific Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping Center (UH Manoa SOEST)
Charged with mapping benthic habitat of coral reefs in the Pacific region on the U.S. and its Territories.

Business and Economy

SocialExplorer (UHM login required)
Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change.

World DataBank (World Bank)

Energy Maps and Data (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
International and country data are also available at this site.


Cadastral and Land Descriptions

For tax parcel and zoning data, check with the GIS office for the county or city of interest.

Cultural and Demographic

2010 US Census

Tutorial: Downloading Census Data from American Factfinder for Use in ArcGIS (Tufts GIS)

National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS)
Free aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2011.

Historical Census Browser (Univ. of Virginia Library)
Data drawn directly from historical volumes of the U.S. Census of Population and Housing.

Association of Religion Data Archive
A collection of surveys, polls, and other data submitted by researchers.


Geological and Geophysical

Mineral Resources Online Spatial Data (USGS)

National Geologic Map Database Catalog 
Allows limiting by product to "includes GIS data". You may also use the MapView interface to navigate to your area of interest.

Soils -- NRCS Data Gateway
Start by selecting area of interest (on the right under Place Data Order). In the subsequent screen, scroll down to Soils to see data options. You will need to fill our a registration form to order data.

World Geologic Data (USGS)
In addition to many energy-related files, this site has extensive country-level feature datasets.