Geoscience Australia: Australian Government GIS data site, including a lots of free data such as topographic maps, geological data, hydrological maps and more.
Australian Government Data: Data from the Australian Government’s OpenData programme, including soil, climate and census data. This link shows only data available as shapefiles. Click the KML link to show KML data instead.
Brazil Geosciences Products: Wide range of datasets for Brazil, including basemaps, administrative boundaries and land use. You may need a bit of Portuguese knowledge to use the site, and some maps are only available in PDF format. Many are available as Shapefiles in the directories whose names end with SHAPE. In Portugeuese
GeoGratis: A wide range of free datasets covering Canada including population, Landsat mosaics, land capability, hydrology and radar data – as well as many others.
GeoBase: Freely available GIS data overseen by the Canadian Council on Geomatics. Includes administrative boundaries, geographical names, elevation, orthorectified satellite imagery, road networks and much more. Registration required
Toporama: Simplified raster versions of the standard National Topographic Survey maps at 1:50,000 and 1:250,000.
Canada Road Network File: Canada’s national road network as shapefile data with information including street names, types, directions and address ranges.
Canadian Soil Information Service: Soil maps for the whole of Canada available for download in GIS formats (mainly shapefiles with associated attribute data). Includes lots of metadata and process/methodology information.
British Colombia Digital Geology Map: Detailed geological maps for the province of British Colombia, available in shapefile and PDF formats. Data from 2005 and a beta version from 2011.
DataBC: Various free and open datasets from the government of British Columbia *(to find geographic datasets, follow links to the catalogue, and then choose Geospatial Dataset under Resource Types)*
Timor-Leste GIS Portal: Wide range of datasets for East Timor, including infrastructure, natural environment, road networks, base maps, elevation and more.
National Land Survey of Finland: A wide range of data including general topographic maps (1:1,000,000 and 1:4,500,000), administrative divisions, elevations and place names and orthophotos for Finland. (For bulk download, in Finnish, try here
Kenya GIS: Wide range of GIS data (provided as shapefiles) for Kenya including population, land cover, agriculture, poverty and climate.
Georeferenced Population: 1990 population for Mexican states, municipalities and islands. Data aligns with US TIGER data at US-Mexican border.
Digital Atlas of Namibia: Freely available data for Namibia in categories of Climate, Physical Geography, Living-resources, Land and History and People, Services and Infrastructure.
Namib Sand Sea Digital Database: Set of data covering the Namib Sand Sea (area of sand dunes in Namibia) including DEMs, satellite images, point ages and dune crests.
ICIMOD Geoportal: Data from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, focusing on the Himalayas.
PDOK: Digital topographic maps at various scales available as both vector and raster data.
LINZ Topographic Maps: Freely available raster copies of Land Information New Zealand topographic maps at 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scales. Equivalent of Ordnance Survey maps for New Zealand.
LINZ Data Service: A new service by Land Information New Zealand. Topographic, hydrographic, survey, titles and geodetic datasets are freely accessible with more LINZ datasets added over time.
Koordinates: GIS data aggregation site which focuses especially on New Zealand. It includes data in a number of categories such as elevation, environment, climate etc. Mostly vector, but some raster. Registration required
LRIS Data Portal: GIS data for New Zealand from Landcare Research, focussing on soil and environmental data and including 25m-resolution DEMs of North and South Island.
Norweigan Land Cover: Various datasets concerning land resources in Norway provided by the Norwegian Landscape and Forest Institute, including land type, forest, tree species and site index with a scale from 1:5000 to 1:250000.
Papa New Guinea
Coastline: 1:50,000 coastline of Papa New Guinea, in MapInfo format. Derived from Landsat data.
GIS Data Clearinghouse: Various datasets relating to the Philippines including boundaries, DEMs, rainfall, and river data.
Portugese Web Atlas: Many datasets including physical geography data (temperature, wind, geology, seismic data, ecology, soils), human geography data (tourism, population, services), protected areas and detailed data on the Azores and Madeira
Geology of Puerto Rico: Detailed geological maps in vector format, with extended attribute information. From USGS.
GeoSpatial Romania: Good selection of vector and raster layers for Romania, including historical information.
Ministry of Environment SIA: Vector data focussing on water resources (lakes, reservoirs, rivers, watersheds, wetlands, environmental protection areas, polluants etc) but also including regions, populated places etc. In Spanish
SwissTopo: Data from the Swiss National Mapping Agency including boundaries, 1:1 million vector maps, Landsat images, geological maps and a map of Switzerland during the last glacial maximum.
Swiss Geoportal: The Geoportal of the Swiss Confederation – with some data available directly and others via links to other sites.
United Kingdom (UK)
OS OpenData: Many Ordnance Survey mapping products available in both vector and raster formats. Resolutions from 1:250k to 1:10k as well as detailed gazateers, boundary datasets and post-code point locations.
ShareGeo Open: Directory of free GIS data for the UK, easily searchable – includes wide range of data including boundaries, national parks, contours, archeological sites and much more.
MAGIC Datastore: A wide range of datasets for the UK including boundaries, pipelines, urban areas, health and safety and more. Many entries in the database are links to other sites and some require registration.
New Popular Edition OS Maps: Scans of many of the (out-of-copyright) New Popular Edition OS maps from the 1940s and 1950s. Available to view online and to download by contacting the authors.
Guardian Datablog: Wide range of data, mostly UK-focused but some international, collected by The Guardian newspaper in the UK.
Natural England: Natural landscape boundaries including areas of National Parks, National Nature Reserves, SSSIs, Common Land, AONBs, Bogs, Mudflats etc.
Atlas of Rural Settlement in England: GIS data of the maps from Brian Roberts and Stuart Wrathmella’s An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, including extensive metadata. Includes locations of settlements, provinces and regions as well as terrain types and more.
Edubase: Data from the UK Government on all educational establishments (Nurseries, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Universities) in England and Wales. To download data, click Subscribe on the left and register. Two downloads are permitted per year.
Buildings and Points of Interest
Postbox locations: Locations of Royal Mail postboxes across the UK, derived from a Freedom of Information request to Royal Mail, plus OpenStreetMap data. Provided in tab-separated format, with latitude and longitude co-ordinates
Postal boundaries: Postcode boundaries at multiple levels (from postal town areas to unit postcodes), released under an open data license.
London Open Data: Open access to data that the Greater London Authority and other related organisations holds
US National Atlas: All raw data contained in the National Altas is available for downloading including everything from agricultural census data, presidential election results, airports, railways, glaciers, arsenic content in groundwater, and much more.
USGS Historical Topographic Maps: Electronic copies of USGS Topographic Maps from the last 125 years. Provided in GeoPDF format, which isn’t great for importing into GIS software, but apparently can be converted to GeoTIFF in the latest version of GDAL
National Geophysical Data Center: List of all free data from the NGDC – sorted alphabetically not by category, but includes elevation models, land cover, seismology and more.
Boundaries and Shorelines
US Cartographic Boundaries: Cartographic boundaries, including city boundaries, counties, school districts, voting districts, zip code areas and congressional districts. Mainly from the 2000 census, but some later data.
National Elevation Dataset: Regularly updated DEM for the whole of the US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Varies from 10m-30m resolution, using best available data for each region.
Great Lakes Bathymetry: Detailed bathymetry data for the Great Lakes at 3 arc-second resolution. To download data click the Create Custom Grids and fill in the areas you want.
Coastal Relief: Various coastal DEMs of the USA at various resolutions. Whole US coastline combining bathymetry and land elevation out to the end of the continental slope is available at 3 arc-second resolution, and various areas available at higher resolution.
NREL Wind: Wind availablity data across the US from the perspective of wind turbine generation.
Snow Data Assimilation System: Gridded data at 30 arc-seconds, from September 2003 till present, including snow depth, snow water equivalent, solid precipitation, liquid precipitation and more. Contiguous US only.
Ecological Land Cover Map: The most complete map ever produced of vegetative associations for the US. Land cover is classified in to 551 Ecological Systems and 32 Modified Ecological Systems (areas where human impacts have affected the ecology). Available for download as ARC GRID or ERDAS IMAGE
Soil Data Mart: Downloadable soil data for the US in both tabular (csv) and geospatial (shp) formats.
Geological maps of the US states: Detailed geological maps with extended attribute data for each of the US states. To download data select the state, then the area, then click the reference link at the bottom. Scroll down to the bottom and the files are available for download.
Geology of the conterminous US: Similar to the above but in one file for the coterminous US, not including Hawaii and Alaska. Far easier to download than the above.
Magnetic Anomalies: Airborne measurement of magnetic anomalies across the whole of North America, in raster format.
USGS EnergyVision: Maps of various factors relating to energy use in the USA, the most relevant of which is the USA and world-wide geological maps. To download, view the web map, then click on the dropdown box labelled MORE and scroll to the Download GIS data option
National Hydrography Dataset: Geodatabases of hydrological information for the US, including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, dams and streamgauges. Topologically-correct network is available allowing for flow modelling.
TOD Database: Economic and demographic information for areas around fixed transit station in the US. Available at three levels – 1/2 mile buffer around station, aggregated transit zones, transit regions. Registration required
US National Power Grid: Data from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) showing rough locations of transmission lines and their connectivities. Data from 1993 and has not been updated since.
Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database: A comprehensive data source on the environmental characteristics (air emissions, resource mix, net generation and more) of all electrical power sources in USA. Each record contains location information, allowing use in GIS.
The links below are to individual states’ GIS data sites. They normally contain a wide range of data for the state, including administrative boundaries, ortho-photos, climate data, DEMs and building footprints. Of course, every state is different so some states may have more/less data than others. Descriptions are only provided below when a site has significantly different data to that listed above
Washington State Department of Transport: Various transport-related datasets for Washington including airports, ferry routes, railways and traffic counts. Also includes some non-transport data including relief, national scenic areas and major lakes.
New York City GIS: Data specific to New York city including building footprints, street centrelines, pavement edges, open space, railways, shorelines and elevation. All provided as shapefiles and MapInfo files.
Bytes of the Big Apple: Linear basemaps, zoning information and areas of particular planning interest for New York City.