We are updating our GIS data organization and structure.   In the interim, please consult the “Finding Data for your GIS” below.

Finding Data for your GIS
Old Data page
(may have some old nuggets of information)

Citing your Data

GIS Data:
Maps and Atlases:

Thanks to Stacey Maples at Yale for these links

Finding Data for your GIS

Spatial data come from a variety of sources, perhaps including your own database files and spreadsheets. Most federal, state, regional and local governmental agencies make their GIS data available to the public. Some private companies also provide data for use in your GIS.

The guidelines below outline the basic search procedure for finding on-line spatial data.

Start the process…

If you have absolutely no idea where to start or what question to ask, you are allowed to skip GO and consult with the GIS staff before beginning your search.  Review the spatial databases available in the Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL). The SAL is constantly acquiring and developing spatial datasets.  Updates and notifications are available on the  SAL’s blog.
Explore the connections collected for online spatial data sources. These connections are broadly categorized as follows:
  • Learning Resources (resources for teaching & learning GIS)
  • State & Regional Data Centers (primarily New England)
  • National Data Sites
  • Natural Science Data
  • Social Science Data
  • Cartographic Resources
  • Reference Sites
1.  Search the Web with search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Search examples:
  • historic “new england” gis
  • “population China .e00”  – note Eoo (pronounced “e” zero, zero) are older ArcInfo exchange file formats
  • “bedrock Alaska .shp” – note *.shp (pronounced “shapefile) files are a newer, more common Lingua franca for spatial data
2.   Search GIS industry news and support sites:
 3. Search our Open Data Portal
Our favorite listserves:
  • EdGIS [Educational Applications of GIS]
  • NITLE GIS [previously the go to list for teaching & learning GIS at liberal arts]
  • SCGIS [very active Conservation and GIS list, must be a member to post, but you can view the archive here]
  • CTGIS-L [Connecticut GIS Users, good activity]
  • NEARC-L [Northeast ArcInfo User Group, good activity]
  • VGIS-L [Vermont GIS, good activity – required reading for Vermonters!]
  • Openspace  [informal GeoDa list and other methods and open source software to carry out spatial data analysis ]
  • Geography and Crime [crime analysis & mapping]
A sample posting that yield data:
“EDGIS listers,
I have been asked to find or perhaps develop an animated map showing European settlement of the contiguous US (~ 1700’s to present day). Any ideas of an appropriate dataset available for constructing the animation? I know about the Historical Census Browser at the University of Virginia and can grab historical census data and back into an animation of sorts. Any other thoughts?
Many thanks and I will sum. Jon”
This simple post yielded over a half dozen responses and ultimately led to a tidy little dataset that allowed us to produce an animation of US settlement.
Some tasty blogs:

and, be sure to visit our blogroll

3.  Post your own query to one of the above GIS lists. Be sure to have done the keyword search of the list archive first.
4.  Consult with the GIS Staff in the Spatial Analysis Lab.