Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Find Geospatial Data

Ask Us: Chat, email, visit or call

Click to chat: contact the library

Get assistance

The library offers a range of helpful services.  All of our appointments are free of charge and confidential.

What is geospatial data?

  • Geospatial data, spatial data or geodata contain geographic positioning information.
  • Examples of this type of data include: road networks from a GIS, or a geo-referenced satellite image.
  • Geospatial data may include attribute data that describes the features found in the dataset.
  • There are two types of geospatial data - vector and raster.
    • Vector data: utilizes geometric objects, lines and areas to represent spatial features.
    • Raster data: utilizes a grid to represent geographic information. Examples include: satellite imagery, digital elevation models, digital orthophotos (aerial), and scanned maps.

How do I find geospatial data?

  • Geospatial data is extremely narrow in scope and subject specific.
  • To start, consider what kind of organization collects the data you are looking for.
  • Search the organization’s website with a phrase like “data download” if you can’t find an obvious link to data on the homepage.
  • Search a portal. Portals strive to be one-stop-shops for specialized data.
  • Use Google to search for datasets by typing appropriate keywords along with GIS, data download, shapefile, .shp, and/or another word that describes your desired data format (like KML).

Why do I need geospatial data?

  • Geospatial data is used to create maps.
  • By visualizing information on a map you can see patterns in the data that are not easily detectable in tabular format.

Find geospatial data

Resources to help with data research

Guide: Find data and Statistics 

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.