Links – Data

A short list of sites with free GIS data layers, from global to local.

Meta Sites

  • OpenGeoportal – a growing collaborative of university and government organizations that are providing access to their repositories through a shared, community-built and governed portal
  • GeoLode – an extensive on-line catalog of websites that provide publicly accessible geospatial data


  • DIVA GIS data – Country level vector and raster data for every single country in the world – download individual files or geodatabases. Assembled for the BioGeomancer Project at UC Berkeley and part of the DIVA GIS project. For just global administrative boundaries, you could also visit the GADM database page.
  • Natural Earth – Generalized raster and vector data for countries, available at three different scales.
  • United Nations Environment Program – Geodata Portal. Click on “Advanced Search,” select “Geospatial Data Sets” under the first drop down box, and hit the red “Search” button. This will take you to a list of global or continental GIS files that you can download.


  • GeoGratis – Canadian government GIS repository provided by the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada.
  • Statistics Canada – GIS data from Canada’s census agency .

United States

  • TIGER Line Shapefiles – U.S. Census Bureau – extracts of the bureau’s TIGER Line files for several legal, administrative, and statistical areas in the US, updated annually
  • Cartographic Boundary Files – U.S. Census Bureau – generalized extracts of the bureau’s TIGER Line files for several administrative areas (i.e. states, counties, zip codes) and census (i.e. tracts, block groups, metros) areas in the US from 2010, 2000, and 1990.
  • National Historical Geographic Information System – the NHGIS is a project at the University of Minnesota that compiles and provides historical census boundaries and data for the United States from 1790 to 2000. New users must register, but there is no cost and downloads are free.
  • USGS National Map Viewer – this federal agency provides imagery, elevation data, and some boundary files.

State of New York

  • CUGIR – Cornell University’s Geospatial Information Repository. They also compile data at the state, county, and local levels for NY State and they coordinate their activities with NYS GIS.
  • NYS GIS Clearinghouse – a state government depository that compiles GIS data produced at the state, county, and local levels for New York State. Downloads are limited.
  • NYS GIS – Digital Orthoimagery – the NYS GIS page for imagery (orthophotos), tiles can be searched by county and year. Imagery for the five boroughs for the most current series is only available by direct, special request. Imagery from the older series is available for all areas.

State of New Jersey

  • New Jersey Geographic Information Network – a clearinghouse for data produced at the state, county, and local level. The site includes interactive mapping, files for download, and a list of off-line resources.

New York City

  • NYC Open Data – this site is a repository of geospatial and attribute data from several city agencies.
  • BYTES of the BIG APPLE – the NYC Department of City Planning’s page has administrative and political boundaries, streets, transportation networks, shorelines, and tax parcels.
  • Baruch Geoportal – repository that I maintain at Baruch CUNY; access the NYC Geodatabase, mass transit features for NYC, and more.

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