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Free GIS Maps, Geodata & ArcGIS Shapefile Layers for Digital Geography Page 2

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Also, check out our free GIS software applications. GIS doesn't have to be complicated or costly.

GSHHS is a high-resolution shoreline data set amalgamated from two databases in the public domain. The data have undergone extensive processing and are free of internal inconsistencies such as erratic points and crossing segments. The shorelines are constructed entirely from hierarchically arranged closed polygons. The data can be used to simplify data searches and data selections, or to study the statistical characteristics of shorelines and land-masses. It comes with access software and routines to facilitate decimation based on a standard line-reduction algorithm. Also available in shapefile format.

GTOPO30 is a global digital elevation model (DEM) with a horizontal grid spacing of 30 arc seconds (approximately 1 kilometer). GTOPO30 was derived from several raster and vector sources of topographic information. For easier distribution, GTOPO30 has been divided into tiles which can be selected from the map shown above. Detailed information on the characteristics of GTOPO30 including the data distribution format, the data sources, production methods, accuracy, and hints for users, is found in the GTOPO30 README file.

MODIS Land Cover Group - This site provides information regarding the MODIS land cover product (MOD12) including descriptions of algorithms, links to where the data can be obtained, contact information for personnel working on the project, and references to key papers that have been published describing algorithm development and applications of the MOD12 products.

National Hydrography Dataset is now available in a new database design that allows better web-based access and query, as well as truly seamless data that can be downloaded in various extents. The new database design provides a distribution format called NHDinGEO. Data requests in NHDinGEO can be extracted by subbasin, county, congressional district or by topographic map quad. Data can be extracted in blocks encompassing several adjacent reference areas. Data are also available in a modified form of the traditional NHDinARC model called NHDGEOinARC. Data requests in NHDGEOinARC are only available by individual subbasins. An upgrade to the NHD ArcView 3.x Toolkit, which is compatible with the NHDGEOinARC format, is now available.

National Map Seamless Server - Enables a user to view and download many geospatial data layers, such as National Elevation Dataset, National Land Cover Dataset, High Resolution Orthoimagery, and many more. Free tutorial.

National Weather Data Available in GIS formats - The National Weather Service produces several data sets that are available in formats available to import into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This page lists many of these data sets.

OpenStreetMap is a wonderful way to create, distribute and use geodata without restriction.

Russian Land Resources - The majority of the spatial datasets are in vector format and are stored as Arc/Info .e00 export files (uncompressed). These are most easily imported into ESRI's Arc/Info GIS, however, the majority of other GIS packages provide for the import of Arc/Info data. Arc/Info export format was chosen as this system is widely used both in Russia and around the globe. In addition, ESRI has produced a GIS package titled Arc Explorer, that is available to download free of charge from the ESRI website. This package provides basic GIS functionality allowing for database queries, mapping etc. In addition, they provide an import utility to convert Arc Info .e00 export files to shapefiles for viewing in ArcView and Arc Explorer.

Satellite Geodesy. This data consists of 33 files of global topography in the same format as the SRTM30 products distributed by the USGS EROS data center. The grid resolution is 30 second which is roughly one kilometer.

  • Land data are based on the 1-km averages of topography derived from the USGS SRTM30 grided DEM data product created with data from the NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. GTOPO30 data are used for high latitudes where SRTM data are not available.
  • Ocean data are based on the Smith and Sandwell global 1-minute grid between latitudes +/- 81 degrees. Higher resolution grids have been added from the LDEO Ridge Multibeam Synthesis Project and the NGDC Coastal Relief Model. Arctic bathymetry is from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IBCAO) [Jakobsson et al., 2003].

Satellite Imagery and Aerial Photos - Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle GeoTiff (DOQQ) and Landsat Images.

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Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Data Download. Data are available at the US Geological Survey's EROS Data Center for download via File Transfer Protocol (ftp). Users should be aware that these data are intended for use with a Geographic Information System (GIS) or other special application software, and are not directly viewable in a browser. Also, users should be aware that the digital topographic data and images are unedited and are intended for scientific use and evaluation.

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Images. The radar image was obtained by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission as part of its mission to map Earth's topography. The image is acquired by just one of SRTM's two antennas, and consequently it does not show topographic data but only the strength of the radar signal reflected from the ground. This signal, known as radar backscatter, provides insight into the nature of the surface, including its roughness, vegetation cover, and urbanization.


Southern United States Forests Interactive Maps - We welcome you to learn more about these forests by exploring data, maps, and other information to highlight key features and trends for southern forests.

Spatial data from the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy - Regional spatial data (suitable for geothermal exploration at scales of 1:250,000 and higher) is listed here, organized by topic. The data is in several ESRI formats, including shapefile, ESRI integer and real number grid format, and georeferenced TIFF image.

Strategic Mapping Program (StratMap) produces, maintains, and enhances Texas statewide digital geographic data themes in partnership with geographic information systems (GIS) professionals from public and private organizations.

USGS free maps - These data files are for use in geographical information systems(GIS) for analysis and integration with other geospatial data. They are not directly viewable using WWW browser or image viewing tools. The USGS offers free software for viewing some digital cartographic products, including DLG-O, DEM, DLG/SDTS and DRG data. They are tools for data preview, and are not substitutes for commercial geographic information system software.

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About Quality, Accuracy and Suitability

This data may come from a variety of U.S. government and self-reporting private sources. While we try to assure the accuracy of this material, we cannot promise that it is absolutely accurate. We do promise that using the map layer will be fun, entertaining or educational. Beyond this, we make no guarantee as to its suitability for any purpose. We assume no liability or responsibility for errors or inaccuracies. Please understand that you use these map layers at your own risk.


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Michael R. Meuser
Data Research & GIS Specialist is an independent firm specializing in GIS project development and data research. We created the first U.S. based interactive toxic chemical facility maps on the internet in 1996 and we have been online ever since. Learn more about us and our services.

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