Find geographic and spatial information for your project
Many websites offer worldwide geographic data for free or for a small fee. Much of the data can be downloaded, or mapped and viewed in your browser. The data comes from commercial, nonprofit, educational, and government sources. For information on how to select the right data for your project, see Selecting the Right Data on GIS.com.
Here are a few excellent places to get started:
Several U.S. data sets are available including Census 2010 data and links to tools at other sites as well as 2000 data.
Compare satellite imagery from 1975 to 2010 on this interactive visualization tool.
The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) offers data, data applications, and online tools and information products.
Environmental Protection Agency
Download GIS data and other files for data in watersheds, including assessment and modeling tools.
Famine Early Warning System Project
Focused on Africa, the site attempts to provide information to decision makers to head off potential famines. Maps and data are provided in the Resources and Toolkit section.
GeoCommunity Data Depot
This site offers free data from all over the world, or you can pay a fee for a custom CD.
Geoportal of the US Government
A simplified user interface with featured maps using US governmental data and services.
Geospatial Data Clearinghouse
Search more than 100 spatial data servers from different organizations through a single interface created by the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee.
Global Elevation Data
The GTOPO30 data set is a global digital elevation model (DEM) with a horizontal grid spacing of 30 arc seconds (approximately 1 kilometer).
Global Forest Watch
An interactive map tool using data from Global Forest Watch reports, an initiative of the World Resources Institute.
The United States Geological Survey is developing a GIS of the world at a nominal scale of 1:1 million. Data is available on CD–ROM for $32 (U.S.).
International Food Policy Research Institute Food Security CASE Maps
Interactive Climate, Agriculture, and Socio-Economic maps underlie the analysis in IFPRI’s latest report: Food Security, Farming, and Climate Change to 2050.
Map data about forests and other environmental information for the United States using the Map Maker tool.
National Geographic's MapMachine
Find worldwide data as well as maps that can be printed.
Nationmaster is a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations with maps, graphs, and statistics.
Search and download data and information from the world authority on demographic information.
Find and download various maps for any country. ReliefWeb is a project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development
See the data indicators for each of the UN's sustainable development themes in their official framework reference.
U.N. Development Programme
Depicts the international human development indicators for all countries of the world by histogram and cloropleth maps. Search for index values or country specific information about health, education, income, sustainability, and more.
U.N. Environmental Programme
Enter "data" into the keyword search to pull up data mapping tools as well as links to different data sources.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service FSGeodata Clearinghouse
A central clearinghouse for all Forest Service geographic data sets and maps.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey
Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey and is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information for US counties.
World Bank Databank
Browse catalogs of data and indicators from the World Bank.