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Geographic data can come from a variety of sources, including your own database files and spreadsheets. Many federal, state and local governmental agencies make their GIS data available to the public. Commercial vendors also provide GIS data. Please conduct your own data search by looking through the internet and Branner resources below before consulting Branner staff.

Guidelines

Guidelines for Finding GIS Data
  1. Look through the data pages on this site for the major raster and vector sets held by Branner Library or available for free over the Internet.
  2. Search SearchWorks to find GIS datasets available in Branner Library. Add “geographic information systems” or “GIS” to your keyword search.
  3. Crawl the Web with search engines like Google using syntax such as “GIS hydrology Mexico” or “population India .shp.”
  4. Consult the Branner GIS Staff for help in locating data.
GIS Data Copyright Information
Data Management Services

Stanford University Libraries is available to assist you with your data management needs. Consulting with us can help you better understand how to:

  • Prepare your data management plan
  • Get access to campus computing resources for storing your data
  • Determine the best ways to manage your data
  • Help you share your data
  • Preserve your data for the long term

Contact us at ask-data-services@lists.stanford.edu for questions or help.

GIS Data Considerations

Always check for the following:

  • Are the spatial data in a GIS software format: i.e. Shapefile (.shp), Geodatabase or Arc/Info (.e00)?
  • Are the spatial files’ map projection parameters defined? Does the projection match that of your other data?
  • What is the scale of the spatial data? Does it match your other data?
  • At what summary level are the tabular data (county, block group, state, etc)?
  • How recent are the data?
  • What were the sources for the data?
  • What are the copyright requirements?
  • Is there metadata associated with the data?
GIS Data and Tutorials on Local Hard Drives

The following data is accessible on the GIS machines for project use:

  • ESRI Data & Maps. ESRI releases a set of DVDs yearly with a wide variety of data that is worldwide in scope. Base data layers include: boundaries, transportation networks, hydrography, census, cultural and administration, imagery, elevation, and US street data for geocoding. Full descriptions of the layers are available here (pdf).
  • California DEM. 10-meter resolution data from the USGS.
  • Worldwide GeoCover 2000. Landsat 7 (ETM+) imagery in MrSID format including only bands 7, 4 and 2. These images are useful for visualization, not for analysis. An index is in the folder on the C drive to aid with tile selection. The dates vary by image, but typically date from 2000. A full description of the product is available here (pdf).

Continent-scale

Data and imagery on this page are either worldwide in scope, cover whole continents, or major parts of continents. Those held by Stanford will have the SU symbol next to the resource.

Worldwide
  • ESRI Data & Maps. ESRI releases a set of DVDs yearly with a wide variety of data that is worldwide in scope. These data are available from the following sources.
    • Check out the DVDs from Branner. Call number: G70.212 .E77 2008 (Media). You can use the DVDs in-house at both the Social Sciences Resource Center at Green Library and Hopkins Marine Library.
    • AFS Space. You can access these data from anywhere on campus by connecting to the following AFS directory: \afs\ir\group\gis. Instructions for doing so are here: GIS Data on AFS
    • The GIS machines at Branner have the latest ESRI data loaded on the C drive of each machine.
  • LandScan 2011: Global Population Distribution. A global population distribution dataset representing ambient population. Data are available from the following sources:
    • WebApp (must be connected from a Stanford IP address)
    • Web service (GIS software required). Contact GIS staff for instructions on adding a web service to a GIS document.
    • GIS lab data folder. If you are part of the GIS workgroup at the Stanford Geospatial Center you can access the raw data directly through the network data folder. Contact GIS staff for instructions on finding the data.
  • LandScan Archive 2000–2011: Global Population Distribution. A global population distribution dataset representing ambient population (data are from prior years’ releases). Data are available from the following sources:
    • WebApp (must be connected from a Stanford IP address)
    • Web service (GIS software required). Contact GIS staff for instructions on adding a web service to a GIS document.
    • GIS lab data folder. If you are part of the GIS workgroup at the Stanford Geospatial Center you can access the raw data directly through the network data folder. Contact GIS staff for instructions on finding the data.
  • USGS Global GIS. This set of CDs contains vector and raster data at 1:1 million scale and includes data layers not easily found elsewhere including geology, faults, volcanoes, and ore deposits. A full description can be found here.
  • 1987–1993: Orthorectified Landsat thematic mapper mosaics. JPEG and MrSID worldwide imagery broken up into sections dated from 1987–1993.
  • GeoCover 1990: Orthorectified Landsat 4/5 Mosaics. A near worldwide dataset of satellite bands 7-4-2 mosaics with a 30m resolution. The imagery is dated from 1988–1992.
    • Available at Branner. Contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with imagery.
  • GeoCover 2000: Orthorectified Landsat 7 ETM+ Mosaics. A worldwide dataset of satellite imagery (bands 7-4-2) mosaics (770 in total) that have been ortho-rectified, tonally balanced, mosaicked, and tiled. The imagery is dated from 1997–2003. A full description of the dataset can be found here (pdf).
    • Available at Branner. Contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with imagery.
  • 30 m ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model. A worldwide dataset of 1-arc second elevation grid data.
    • Available at Branner. Data are loaded onto the GIS machines at Branner. You may also contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with data.
  • IDIS Basin Kit. This set of DVDs provides baseline GIS data layers (vector and grid) for each of the IWMI and CPWF river basins covering various domains such as climate, agriculture, soil, land use, topography, etc. A full description can be found here.
  • Global Administrative Areas. GADM is a spatial database of the location of the world’s administrative areas (or adminstrative boundaries) for use in GIS and similar software.
  • Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database (GSHHS) is a high-resolution shoreline data set amalgamated from two databases in the public domain.
  • Global Land Cover Facility. The GLCF is a research center focused on research using remotely sensed satellite data. They provide free access to worldwide coverage for Landsat, MODIS, AVHRR and elevation data. A full description can be found here.
  • Natural Earth. Natural Earth provides free vector and raster data at 1:10 million, 1:50 million and 1:110 million scale for making general purpose maps of the land and the seafloor. Vector data is available in Shapefile format and raster data in TIFF format with a TFW World File. A full description can be found here.
  • LandsatLook Viewer. The USGS LandsatLook Viewer (http://landsatlook.usgs.gov) allows comprehensive searching and downloading of full-resolution LandsatLook images, along with access to Level 1 Data Products. A full description can be found here.
Africa
  • USGS Global GIS: Africa. The Africa CD contains vector and raster data at 1:1 million scale and includes data layers not easily found elsewhere including geology, faults, volcanoes, and ore deposits. A full description can be found here.
  • Africa Map Library. This site includes public domain base map data for Africa, country by country. Included are administrative boundaries and satellite imagery.
  • Africa Data Dissemination Service. The ADDS provides a data portal for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). A good site to go to for precipitation information, satellite and imagery.
  • AfricaMap (beta). AfricaMap is a project out of Harvard University to pull together research projects and information about the continent. One may search by map layers or by places (cities, buildings, etc.) or through a search box.
  • Safari 2000 Project. “The SAFARI 2000 (S2K) Project was an international science initiative to study the linkages between land and atmosphere processes in the southern African region.” Free datasets are categorized by broad subject including: hydrology studies, regional data, remote sensing, climate and meteorology, background soils and land cover.
  • Africover. The goal of Africover is to create a georeferenced database of land cover and baseline geographic data for all of Africa. Free registration is required to access the data layers.
  • FAO soil and terrain databases for Central and Southern Africa. Over 100 hundred soil profiles are described and analyzed at a typical scale of 1:1 million based upon country. Landform and lithological information is also included. CDs may be checked out from Branner Library.
Asia/Middle East
Australia/Indonesia
  • Geoscience Australia: national layer downloads. This site provides a variety of layers to download for free including topography, digital elevation models, geology, and environmental data. Links are also provided to satellite imagery.
Europe
North America, Central America
  • VMAP1 data. Provides vector-based geospatial data at medium resolution. Data includes 14 thematic layers, including: boundaries, elevation, hydrography, industry, physiography, population, transportation, utilities, vegetation and data quality. There are also 135 specific layers of information. The features have been derived from NIMA’s 1:250,000 scale topographic maps.
    • Check out the DVDs from Branner. Call number: G3201 S250 .E9 (Media). Tile numbers correspond to regions. Tiles available: Costa Rica (155), Mexico (97–98, 116), Nicaragua (155), Panama (155).
  • Central American vegetation/land cover classification and conservation status. These data were created by classifying AVHRR imagery at 1 square kilometer resolution. More detailed information may be found here.
South America
  • VMAP1 data. Provides vector-based geospatial data at medium resolution. Data includes 14 thematic layers, including: boundaries, elevation, hydrography, industry, physiography, population, transportation, utilities, vegetation and data quality. There are also 135 specific layers of information. The features have been derived from NIMA’s 1:250,000 scale topographic maps.
    • Check out the DVDs from Branner. Call number: G3201 S250 .E9 (Media). Tile numbers correspond to regions. Tiles available: Argentina (221), Bolovia (192–193), Brazil (177–180, 192–195, 206–207, 221), Colombia (155–156, 175), Ecuador (175, Peru (175), Uruguay (221), Venezuela (156)
Antarctica
  • Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA). This dataset was created from over 1,000 Landsat images providing a virtually cloudless, seamless, and high resolution satellite view of Antarctica. You can download the mosaic and the tiles. More detailed information may be found at the main web site.
  • Antarctica Digital Database. The ADD is a “compilation of medium scale topographic data for the continent of Antarctica.” The data are free of charge for non-profit use, but one must register on the site to get access to it.

Countrywide

Data resources on this page are focused specifically on countries around the globe. Those held by Stanford will have the SU symbol next to the resource.

Africa
  • Africa Map Library. Country by country public domain base map data for Africa. Included are administrative boundaries and satellite imagery.
  • Kenya GIS Data. World Resources Institute has mounted a wide range of Kenya data including information on population, poverty, agriculture, land cover, elevation, rainfall, etc.
Asia/Middle East
  • Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS). AIMS has been designed to provide information management services to organizations across Afghanistan. From the home page link to shapefiles for Afghanistan and Kabul or geocodes for the 32 provinces.
  • China historical GIS. Data created by the Harvard Yenching Institute. Detailed information may be found here.
  • China 2000 township population census data with maps. Data from the China Data Center at the University of Michigan. CDs include 2000 township GIS maps with about 2,000 variables from 2000 population Census data for all townships. The GIS map layers include: (1) 2000 township map with population census data (1:1 million); (2) 2000 county boundary map; (3) 2000 provincial boundary map; (4) 2000 county capital point map; (5) 2000 prefecture city capital point map; (6) 2000 provincial capital point map; (7) Highway; (8) National Road; (9) Provincial Trunk Road; (10) Railways; (11) Rivers; and (12) Coast lines.
  • China historical county population census data with maps: 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990, 2000. Data from the China Data Center at the University of Michigan. CD includes the population Census data at county level for 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990 and 2000, integrated with the county GIS maps in Shape file format. All variables are in both Chinese and English.
  • Chinese Civilization in Time and Space. Web-based GIS system with historical maps, integrated with full-text databases from the Academia Sinica. The fundamental base maps are based on Dr. Tan’s “The Historical Atlas of China”. “The Historical Atlas of China” provides users with Chinese historical features, covering Chinese history over the past 2000 years, from the ancient time to Qing dynasty. Click on “Enter CCTS System” to access the database. Users must download ArcView 9.1, the latest Java Runtime Environment, and CCTS plug-ins before use.
  • Digital Gazetteer of the Song Dynasty (DGSD). The DGSD is a MySQL database that records the 3,828 units that existed at any time in the administrative hierarchy of China’s Song dynasty (960–1276 CE); along with attributes such as population, civil and military ranks, and locations of centers of state industry. All of the entities are spatially referenced, and all events of spatial change (establishment, abolition, promotion, and demotion of jurisdictions) are recorded and temporally referenced. The database, and shapefiles derived from it, are freely available for download and use under Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike terms.
  • India state basemap, 2008. This CD includes seamless vector data about every state in India. It includes district and sub-district boundaries, locations of cities and towns, villages over 5,000 people in population, highways and roads, railroad routes and railway stations, airports, etc. Census demographic, socio-economic and communications data are also included.
    • CD available at Branner Library, call number G7651 .E1 2008 .M6 Ready Reference. This CD does not circulate.
  • IndiaMap, 2000. IndiaMap contains selected cartographic and statistical data in ARC/INFO (dBase) format with which users can generate maps of India. Software allows the user to draw maps to show the important train routes, including scheduling information, highways, wildlife parks and sanctuaries and more. Socio-economic and demographic data from the 1991 Census, communication and wildlife related data are included. IndiaMap is georeferenced and sourced from 1:4 million scale maps and published secondary data.
    • CD available at Branner Library, call number G7651.A25 2000 .I53 Ready Reference. This CD does not circulate.
  • Pakistan administrative GIS spatial data. Data created by the Australian Consortium of the Asian Spatial Information and Analysis Network (ACASIAN). CD includes administrative boundaries and capitals for provinces and federally administered areas, plus Azad Kashmir (ADM1), divisions (ADM2), and districts and agencies, etc. (ADM3), as of the 1998 census, fitted to DCW coastline and international boundaries, including the ‘Line of Control’ with India. 1998 census population figures supplied. The spatial data are geo-referenced in decimal degrees using the WGS84 Spheroid.
    • CD available at Branner Library, call number G7640 2004 .A85 Media.
  • Tajikistan administrative GIS spatial data. Data created by the Australian Consortium of the Asian Spatial Information and Analysis Network (ACASIAN). Includes ADM1, ADM2, and ADM3 administrative units and capitals for Tajikistan, updated to “early/mid 2000s status.” The spatial data are georeferenced in decimal degrees using the WGS84 Spheroid and fitted to the DCW coastline.
    • CD available at Branner Library, call number G7260 2004 .A85 Media.
Australia/Indonesia
  • Geoscience Australia: national layer downloads. This site provides a variety of layers to download for free including topography, digital elevation models, geology, and environmental data. Links are also provided to satellite imagery.
  • Australian spatial data directory: ASDD. The ASDD provides a metadata clearinghouse for spatial data throughout Australia. While not providing content, it does alert you to the availability of content and the right people/agencies/groups to get it.
Europe
North America, Central America
South America
General Country-wide Data
  • ESRI Data & Maps. ESRI releases a set of DVDs yearly with a wide variety of data that is worldwide in scope. These data are available from the following sources.
    • Check out the DVDs from Branner. Call number: G70.212 .E77 2008 (Media). You can use the DVDs in-house at both the Social Sciences Resource Center at Green Library and Hopkins Marine Library.
    • AFS Space. You can access these data from anywhere on campus by connecting to the following AFS directory: \afs\ir\group\gis. Instructions for doing so are here: GIS Data on AFS
    • The GIS machines at Branner have the latest ESRI data loaded on the C drive of each machine.

U.S. Data

Data resources on this page are focused specifically on the United States. Those held by Stanford will have the SU symbol next to the resource.

GIS data for the United States
Census data for the United States
  • American Factfinder. Create maps and download population, housing, economic, and geographic data from the Census Bureau for the 1990 and 2000 census.
  • Social Explorer. Social Explorer includes demographic information from 1790 to the present. One can make maps and download specific datasets for the region of interest.
  • National Historical GIS. NHGIS provides, free of charge, aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2010.
  • SU only GeoLytics Census Data. GeoLytics provides a number of products related to the Census including census information back to the 1970s. These data are available at the Social Sciences Resource Center and Branner Library.

Local Data

Data resources on this page are focused specifically on regions within California.

San Francisco Bay Area
  • 2003 High resolution orthoimagery for: San Francisco (1ft) and Monterey peninsula (1ft, 2ft, and 6in). Available at Branner. Contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with imagery.
  • 1999 Stanford aerial photos (black and white, 6in) Available at Branner. Contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with imagery.
  • 2001 and 2006 Stanford aerial photos (color, 3in) Available at Branner. Contact GIS staff for access to the hard drive with imagery.
  • 2005/2006 High resolution LiDAR elevation data for the San Francisquito Creek watershed — San Mateo County flight. Includes Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and the upper watershed. Vertical accuracy of 0.10 m RMSE. Data exceeds National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy (NSSDA) for 2' contours. Available in ArcGIS terrain or LAS format. Contact Trevor Hebert (thebert@stanford.edu) at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve for access to the data (restricted to Stanford students, faculty and staff).
  • 2006 High resolution LiDAR elevation data for the San Francisquito Creek watershed — Santa Clara County flight. Includes Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University, the lower watershed and baylands. Vertical accuracy of 0.09 m RMSE. Data exceeds National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy (NSSDA) for 2' contours. Available in ArcGIS terrain or LAS format. Contact Trevor Hebert (thebert@stanford.edu) at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve for access to the data (restricted to Stanford students, faculty and staff).
  • Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Selected data from ABAG reports and other government sources are available.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Regional Database (BARD). Includes bay area historical maps, DEM quadrangles (1:24,000 scale), and county compressed orthoimagery along with links to other USGS data.
  • San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI). Links to interactive GIS websites, maps and downloadable aerial photos and habit data.
  • Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC). Has a wide collection of geophysical data, including earthquake catalogs, seismograms, GPS observations, strain, creep, and tilt data, and InSAR data.
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Has roads and transit data; some of the data have restrictions.
State of California

Topical Resources

The Topical Resources pages will guide you to key resources in specific disciplines or subjects. Included are data resources, links to interesting projects, tutorials/tools, and books for more information.

Data on AFS

A collection of basemap GIS data are available to Stanford-affiliates with a valid SUNet ID.

Instructions

Users may connect to the directory using a secure FTP program such as SecureFX, or users can mount this directory directly through Stanford OpenAFS. Both applications are available from Essential Stanford Software.

  1. Install Stanford OpenAFS
  2. Access OpenAFS through Stanford AFS Controller or Stanford Desktop Tools.
  3. Select “Group” and type in “gis” in space provided.
  4. Click “Mount” and it will appear as a network drive folder through “My Computer.”
  5. Open ArcCatalog and hit the ‘Connect to Folder’ button and navigate to the newly mounted drive letter.
  6. Now you may use ArcCatalog to search this drive and preview GIS data.
  7. To reduce network congestion and ease the load on the server, copy data layers to your local machine, rather than adding the files directly to your map.
Examples of Data Available
  • ESRI Sample Data — Global and national (boundaries, streets, hydro, etc.)
  • International data at a global scale or organized by continent (DEMs, natural and man-made features, imagery, map projection zones and time zones)
  • USA data — natural, man-made, and political data, plus data from the USGS
  • Oceans (bathymetry and shoreline data)
  • Stanford basemap data
  • PDF copies of all the ESRI software manuals
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