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The US government publishes a plethora of useful, high-quality GIS data sources online.

The data includes:

  • Municipal and international boundaries
  • Classified points of interest
  • Geographic maps
  • Climate charts
  • Air transportation maps
  • ...and so much more, in the US and outside it.

Unfortunately, the data is located in dozens of different web sites, each belonging to a separate agency. This community wiki aims to list all the known official US data sources available on the web.

Answers should probably include:

  • Site name & link
  • Agency name and description
  • Coverage (US \ International)
  • Short description of available data
  • Update date (if applicable\relevant)
  • Comments about quality or experience with the data
  • One data source per answer
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This comment is for the moderators as much as anyone. Since GIS.se is not just about the U.S.A., is there a demand, and a mechanism for making a repository of government-sponsored data sources world-wide? –  Get Spatial Jun 22 '12 at 21:12
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This seems overly ambitious, and not really suited for StackExchange's format. The Geodata Catalog at Data.gov, which is intended to be a catch-all reposity for US government spatial data, includes over 440,000 items, and it is missing a lot of non-FGDC compliant data. –  dmahr Jun 22 '12 at 21:25
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Sometimes it's easier to go straight to the source rather than a catch-all (I added the Data.gov entry already, BTW), so I see a lot of value in this question. –  blah238 Jun 22 '12 at 21:34
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converted to community wiki because there is no definitive answer. –  Mapperz Jun 22 '12 at 21:36
    
Data.gov is based on 'machine readable' tabular metadata. A lot of times it's easier to get the data you want when you have a map to look at, or a better designed query system. –  Roy Jun 27 '12 at 18:32
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8 Answers

The National Map

This is sponsored by the USGS.

  • Topographic Map Products
  • Transportation
  • Hydrography
  • Land Cover
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Based on discussions I've had with other federal agencies, The National Map seeks to be the spatial repository (viewer) for National datasets (as opposed to the more tabular data.gov). –  Roy Jun 27 '12 at 18:11
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Tiger - the US Census Bureau GIS data. Covers the US only.

  • Municipal and state boundaries
  • Cartographic maps
  • Street maps

From my personal experience, the data is comprehensive, accurate and well-formed.

Last update - 2011.

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USGS Earth Explorer

Products available for download include:

  • Aerial Photography
  • AVHRR
  • Cal/Val Reference Sites
  • Commercial
  • Declassified Data
  • Digital Elevation
  • DLGs
  • EO-1
  • Forest Carbon Sites
  • Global Fiducials
  • Global Land Surveys
  • HCMM
  • JECAM Sites
  • Land Cover
  • Landsat Archive
  • Landsat Legacy
  • Landsat MRLC
  • NASA LPDAAC Collections
  • Orbview-3
  • Radar
  • Vegetation Monitoring
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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency offers an impressive POI list called "Complete Files of Geographic Names for Geopolitical Areas", which seems to comprehensively cover every spot of the world.

I had a brief, but good, experience with the POI list of Isreal.

The data is updated as to 18 July 2002.

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National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)

The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides data, products and services relating to several disciplines of geophysical science:

  • Bathymetry & Global Relief
  • Earth Observations from Space
  • Geomagnetic Data & Models
  • Marine Geology & Geophysics
  • Natural Hazards
  • Space Weather & Solar Events
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A plug for my own agency! USFWS provides National datasets (including WMS in many cases) for the following:

  • Critical Habitat (as mandated by the Endangered Species Act)
  • National Wetlands Inventory
  • Project locations and Focus areas for Partners for Fish and Wildlife & Coastal Programs (ECOS)
  • Cadastral data (and refuge road system) for the National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Coastal Barrier Resources Systems (determines Fed funding / flood insurance)
  • Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (Large scale eco-units for conservation developed by FWS & USGS)
  • Migratory Bird Conservation dataset
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The National GAP Analysis Program ecological data from USGS:

  • National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD)
    • Ecological Systems based on NatureServe classifications
  • Protected Areas Dataset (Federal, State, Local, NGO, Tribal lands) Highly Recommended
  • Species geographic range
  • Species distribution models (ongoing)
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Data.gov

Data.gov, the US government's open data warehouse, whose self-described purpose is to "increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government" is celebrating its 3rd year of service.

The main area of the website contains some spatially-enabled data as well as links to external datasets, some of which are shapefiles or links to other websites.

There is also a Geodata Catalog which houses spatial data exclusively.

Types of data available are various and range from records of visitors to the White House to realtime earthquake data, TIGER data, elevation data, and more (like, a LOT more, 440,000+ datasets).

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