GIS Software Comparison Matrix
GIS Software Comparison Matrix highlighting differences in available software packages: – Google Doc
Free Global Data list as provided by RTWilson
- USGS Afghanistan Datasets: Includes satellite images, geology, airborne data and scanned maps.
- Afghanistan Election Data: Open Data from elections in Afghanistan including final results.
- Humanitarian Response Afghanistan: Wide range of datasets including education, health, water and logistics layers.
- Antarctic Digital Database: Compilation of medium-scale topographic data for Antarctica, managed by the British Antarctic Survey. Registration required
- US Antarctic Resource Centre: Scanned topographic maps, LiDAR-derived DEMs at approx 5m resolution and some aerial photography. Click the links on the left to select different datasets
- Australian Antarctic Data Centre: Data from the Australian antarctic programme, including sea ice data, maps and aerial photography.
- US National Ice Centre – Antarctic Daily Ice Extents: Daily ice extent maps for the area around Antarctica in KML format.
- National Snow and Ice Data Centre: A wide range of Antarctic data from the US-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre
- IPA Circum-arctic Permafrost Map: Vector map of permafrost and ground ice in the arctic region, from the International Permafrost Association.
- Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures: Sea Surface Temperature from 1981-2009 in both raster (.img), vector (.shp), and ASCII (.csv) formats.
- Discover Information Geographically: Compilation site including most governmental GIS data, such as land cover, boundaries and biodiversity data.
- 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.
- South Australia Bushfire Protection Areas: Shapefiles showing extent of bushfire protection areas introduced in 2006.
- Queensland GIS service: Data from the government of Queensland including biodiversity, pests, census data and more.
- New South Wales Office of the Environment and Heritage: Data from the NSW government which includes conservation reserves, biodiversity data, vegetation mapping and soil mapping.
- Belgium Marine Data: Data on the marine environment around Belgium including anchorage areas, naviation routes, power cables, wind farms, dredging zones and sand banks.
- Belgian Historical GIS: Historical GIS data focusing on population and boundary changes.
- GeoBolivia: Bolivian Government GIS portal.
- Department of Ecosystem Science and Management: A wide range of datasets from the Ecosystem Science and Management government agency in Bolivia.
- 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.
- Alaska and Canada Land Cover: 1km resolution land cover data for Alaska and Canada.
- 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.
- State/City Specific
- 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)*
- Manitoba Land Initiative: Detailed land data for the province of Manitoba. Registration required
- GeoNOVA: Geospatial data portal for the province of Nova Scotia.
- Alberta Geological Survey Data: Geology for the province of Alberta.
- New Brunswick GIS downloads: Orthoimages, topography and address information for New Brunswick
- Yukon Spatial Data: Main spatial data site for Yukon, including ortho-imagery and vector and raster GIS data.
- Saskatchewan Spatial Data: Main spatial data site for the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan. Registration required
- Prince Edward Island GIS Data: GIS data from the government of Prince Edward Island.
- Central American Land Cover Classification and Conservation Status: 1km resolution data showing land-cover and conservation status (eg. protected with legal limits, proposed protection) as of 1995.
- China Dimensions Data Collection: GIS data including administrative regions, census data linked to maps and agricultural data.
- Diamond Bay Data: Chinese counties, census statistics and Digital Chart of the World China GIS layers.
- China Historical GIS: Historical boundaries, tribal areas etc for China from 1820 back to 222 BCE. Registration required
- Kortforsyningen: A wide range of data for Denmark including aerial photos, LiDAR data, historical maps and more. Registration required
- Danmarks Miljoportal: Environmental and ecological data for Denmark
- 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
- Finnish Meteorological Service: Open meteorological data for Finland
- Statistics for Finland: Demographic data available for download
- Helsinki data: Geographic data in a wide range of categories – both raster and vector – for Helsinki
- IGN: Free GIS data for France including relief, drainage, boundaries, raster maps and coastline. In French
- ParisData: Open Data for Paris, including lots of georeferenced data. In French
- Coastal Orthophotos: Orthophotos over the whole of the French coast available for download. In French
- NIBIS GIS: German GIS aggregation service allowing you to display and download various maps of Germany.
- German Postal Areas: Vector polygons of German postal areas (similar to zip code or postcode areas). In German
- Greece Open Geodata: The Greek government’s open GeoData portal, with a wide range of datasets.
- Irish Census Boundaries 2006: Census boundaries from the Irish census in 2006, in shapefile format.
- Irish National Parks and Wildlife Data: Data on habitats, species, designated sites and biodiversity. Some data requires registration to download.
- Geological Survey of Ireland: Geology data for Ireland including bedrock type, boreholes, aquifers and quarry locations.
- Irish Environmental Protection Agency: A wide range of environmental data including a generalised rivers/streams dataset, CORINE landcover extracts, soils, historical mines and more.
- MondoGIS datasets list: Links to a wide range of Italian GIS datasets including DEMs, administrative boundaries, bathymetry, transport networks and more.
- Italian Environment Ministry Geoportal: Various environmental data from the Environment Ministry of Italy
- Diamond Bay Data: Japanese place names and rivers.
- 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.
- New Zealand Bathymetry: 250m-resolution raster bathymetry data for New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Department of Conservation Geoportal: A range of conservation-related datasets to download, including conservation areas, marine reserves, campsites, huts and area boundaries.
- 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.
- Coal Resources of the Soviet Union: Various data about coal in the former Soviet Union, including deposits, basins, ages etc.
- Land Resources of Russia: Includes climate, permafrost, soils, transportation, land productivity and much more.
- Slovenian Environment Agency: Environmental datasets, mostly in vector formats, including climate, flooding, waterbodies and meteorological stations
- Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food: Land use shapefiles available for download
- EIONET: Further environmental data including waste management sites and pollution measures
- Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia: Demographic data available for download
- 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
- Center for National Geographic Information: Data including grid co-ordinates, names of places and more for Spain. Registration required
- Geological Survey in Spain: Detailed geological mapping of Spain
- The Andalusia Environmental Information Network (REDIAM): Includes natural resources, climate, water, urban environments, and more.
- Guadalquivir River Basin District: Variety of data including hydrology, geomorphology, administrative boundaries and protected areas available for download as PDFs, KMLs and shapefiles.
- A Coruna Province Council: Data for the A Coruna province in North-Western Spain, including topography, demography, urban planning, utilities and government services.
- Navarra Data Site: GIS data for the Navarra Territory of Spain.
- Institut CartogrÃ fic de Catalunya data: Data from the cartographic institute of Catalonia (a region of Spain).
- Department of Water Affairs: South African drainage network at 1:500,000. Topologically correct with detailed metadata (including name, seasonality of flow, Strahler order and more).
- Biodiversity GIS: Wide range of biodiversity data for South Africa.
- 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.
- Data.gov.uk: Huge amounts of data, a fair proportion of which is georeferenced. Useful datasets include snapshots of public transport journeys and lists of public transport stops.
- 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.
- Atmosphere, Weather and Climate
- Natural Atmospheric Emissions Inventory: Maps of atmospheric polluntants including greenhouse gases and particulate matter concentrations. Available for download as ASCII Grid files.
- UK Pollutant Deposition: Maps of pollutant deposition across the UK for chemicals such as ammonium, nitric acid, nitrogen and sulphur dioxide.
- National Grid GIS data: Shapefiles with locations of power transmission lines, underground cables, substations and more.
- Historical Data
- Great Britain Historical Database Online: Historical statistics linked to spatial areas including census data, births/marriages/deaths statistics and many others.
- 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.
- British Geological Survey Web Data: A range of geological data including earthquake locations available as web-services, KML files and shapefiles.
- 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
United Arab Emirates
- Abu Dhabi EnviroPortal: Wide range of environmental data for the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
United States of America (USA)
- 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.
- US Neighbourhood Boundaries: Creative-commons licensed data from Zillow showing the extent of neighbourhoods in urban areas.
- NOAA Medium Resolution Digital Vector Shoreline: US coastlines compiled from official NOAA coastal charts covering nearly 75,000 nautical miles of coastline.
- Office of Coast Survey Chart Downloader: Free access to NOAA marine navigational charts.
- Land Cover and Vegetation
- National Land Cover Database 2001 and 2006: NLCD data for download at 30m resolution. Data includes raw land cover information (in 16 classes) and data on changes between 2001 and 2006.
- Phenology: Seasonal changes in vegetation across the US from remote sensing images. Various datasets including Start of Season Time, Time of Maximum, Amplitude and Time-Integrated NDVI.
- MODIS Irrigated Agriculture dataset: Raster irrigated area maps for the US, derived from MODIS data and available at 250m and 1km resolutions.
- USGS Land Cover Trends: Land Cover Trends from approximately 1970 until 2000 at approximately 30m resolution.
- Pacific Coast Land Cover: Land Cover from 1996, 2001 and 2006 derived from Landsat images for the Pacific Coast of the USA (California, Oregon and Washington). 30m resolution.
- Chesapeake Bay Land Cover: Land cover for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for 1984, 1992, 2001 and 2006.
- 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.
- Pudget Sound Lidar Consortium: Public-domain high-resolution LiDAR dataset for the Pacific Northwest. Registration Required
- Weather and Climate
- 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.
- EPA Environmental Dataset Gateway: Catalog giving access to all environmental data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Terrestrial Ecosystems of the United States: A mid-scale ecological classification consisting of over 800 ecosystem types found across North America.
- Digital Species Distribution Maps: Data showing distribution of a range of types of species (pollinators, birds, mammals etc.) across the USA. Downloadable as one, or split into species.
- Bird and Mammal Species Distribution Grids: Raster grids showing species distribution across the US of birds and mammals. One grid per species, approximately 1km resolution.
- National Wetlands Inventory: Wetland extent and type across the US, including information on riparian vegetation.
- Protected Areas Database of the US: Shapefile of all protected areas in the US including attribute data description uses, reasons for protection and legal status.
- 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.
- US Fish and Wildlife Service National GIS datasets: Information and boundaries for Coastal Barrier Resource Systems, Critical Habitats, Ecosystem Regions, National Wetlands, National Wildlife Refuge Systems etc.
- 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.
- National Water Quality Assessment Data Warehouse: Huge amounts of georeferenced data (although not always provided as GIS-ready files) about water quality, including groundwater and surfacewater sampling, discharges and health information.
- TIGER: US-wide census data.
- TIGER/Line 2010: 2010 extracts from the census database. These files contain the boundaries of census areas, which can then be linked to census data tables.
- US Census Grids: Raster griddded datasets for census variables across the US for data from 2000. Approximately 1km resolution.
- Archive of Census-related Products: A range of census-related products produced by a research project at CIESIN including boundary, migration and microdata samples.
- 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
- National Historical GIS: Historical GIS data for the USA, including demographics, ancestry, education and more.
- Crime and Justice
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data: Crime data from the US, including various statistics – all geo-referneced but not necessarily provided in GIS-ready formats.
- Power and Energy
- 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
- Connecticut LiDAR DEM: 3m resolution DEM for the state of Connecticut. Can be downloaded by town or by geographic quadrangle.
- Florida Geographic Data Library Explorer
- Hawaii High Resolution Land Cover: Land cover maps for all Hawaiian islands apart from the Big Island, for 1992, 2001 and 2005. 1992 and 2001 data are from Landsat, 2005 from 2.4m Quickbird.
- Indiana Spatial Data Portal
- Iowa Natural Resources GIS Library: State-wide data on natural resources including geology, agriculture, hydrology and land cover.
- Kansas GIS Data Access and Support Center
- Kentucky Geoportal
- Louisiana State Atlas
- Maine Office of GIS
- Montana Data List
- Massachusetts GIS Layers
- Michigan Center for Geographic Information
- New York State GIS Clearinghouse
- New Mexico Resource GIS program
- North Carolina OneMap
- Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program
- Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access
- Tennessee Enterprise GIS Portal
- Tennessee State Parks data
- Texas Natural Resources Information System
- Utah GIS Portal
- Vermont Center for Geographic Information
- 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.
- West Virginia GIS Technical Centre
- Wyoming GIS
- City or Region specific
- 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.
- Washington DC GIS Clearinghouse: GIS data from the city of Washington DC including base maps, POI locations, street plans and much more.
- 3D models of Boston: Building footprints and 3D models of a large part of Boston.
- Chesapeake Bay Program: GIS data for Chesapeake Bay, including water quality and ecology datasets