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I am working on an analysis and would like to incorporate major maritime ports from across the world. Some initial searching turned up a dataset produced by General Dynamics, however it will be prohibitively expensive.

I would like to find a free dataset to use, preferably in shapefile or some other Arc friendly format. The only information desired beyond the location (point or polygon) would be the name, however even that is not required. Any help is much appreciated.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

chawkins I believe what you are looking for is called the World Port Index, the dataset is produced and maintained? by the NGA and can be found here

The data is stored in an access DB the site also has a shape file which I've not looked at it yet but should help with positioning your data and linking to the DB.

It contains heaps of information on the ports but the data may be upto 10 years old now, not sure on its maintenance or update frequency if any.

Good Luck!

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Thank you! This is perfect. I saw this dataset mentioned elsewhere but many links to the NGA site across the web appear to be broken and I seem to have trouble navigating their site regardless. – chawkins Mar 21 '12 at 1:45

Here is an excellent source of ports related information:

Currently they provide access to the data via REST API, but I think you may ask about the database dump. There is free and paid option. For basic port information free one is good enough to start.

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