Questions about obtaining data.

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50
votes
14answers
2k views

The GIS of War - Tracking Conflicts and Their Effects

I was idly speculating on the many sorts of things people are keeping track of these days with GIS - natural/human catastrophes, demographic and economic patterns, climate change, etc. In that vein, I ...
38
votes
20answers
40k views

Are there any free administrative boundaries available as shapefiles?

After learning about the US Census's TIGERLines datasets I'm addicted to GIS :) I've working with the following layers, from the USA data Country boundaries State boundaries County boundaries City ...
33
votes
6answers
8k views

Downloading OpenStreetMap Data

Is there a straightforward way to download data from OpenStreetMap (OSM)? Using North America as an example, I realize Cloudmade (http://downloads.cloudmade.com/north_america) and geofabrik ...
24
votes
6answers
10k views

Most Up-To-Date Source for US Zip Code Boundaries

I was just wondering what the most up-to-date source for US Zip Code boundaries would be. My first thought was TIGER, whenever that comes out, but then I thought that the Postal Service might be a ...
24
votes
3answers
532 views

Why are Data Projections relevant?

Sorry for my ignorance - especially after being in this area for a long time. Why is it useful to store data in unusual projections and datums? I understand the value of projections as output ...
22
votes
6answers
807 views

How to cope with the newly discovered GPS bug? [closed]

Today the New York Times broke the news that after the Clinton Administration turned off Selective Availability in the GPS system, a bug had been introduced into the GPS satellite software itself, ...
21
votes
6answers
669 views

Open access repository of general GIS spatial data?

As a newcomer to using GIS for research, I am wondering if there are online repositories for spatial data, similar to package repositories for Linux distributions. For instance, I would be able to ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a source for historical shapefiles and tiles?

Is there a source for historical shapefiles and tiles? Like the ancient Greece/Rome, medieval Europe and Japan? Ideally with multiple snapshots during different periods in their development, since ...
19
votes
3answers
572 views

How can we protect GIS data?

I have found a very interesting paper here related to this topic. I just want to have views/ideas from other professional about how we can protect GIS data using Cryptography or Digital Watermarking? ...
18
votes
10answers
1k views

Common GIS data sources for developing nations. Where to start?

Not all countries have the benefit of funding/technologies for developing GIS data stores. I'm looking for a list of common GIS data sources that should be investigated when trying to build a good ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

GIS data for fast food industry

I am working a small project related to fast food industry. I am trying find GIS data for fast food chains like subway, MC Donald's, Arby's, etc in state of Ohio. Basically, I am looking for point ...
17
votes
3answers
719 views

Where to get street data in an importable format?

I don't want to use WMS layers, but to actually store the data in my local server, where can I find street data from the world?
17
votes
7answers
10k views

Where to get 2010 Census Block data?

This might be a stupid question but I would like to download 2010 Census Block Data for several towns and I can't seem to find it on American Factfinder. Is it there? And if not, does anyone know ...
17
votes
6answers
6k views

Near real-time sources of lightning strike data

I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on sources of near real-time lightning strike data available for download? For example, Intellicast.com has a map of strikes, but makes no mention of the ...
16
votes
4answers
595 views

How to handle TIME in GIS?

Is there any way or any idea on how to handle Time attribute in GIS? For example, which are the ways to specify that an object is at a place at a given time interval and them it is in another place ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Sources of realtime spatial data

I'm trying to set up a demo that serves up live spatial data, but am having trouble finding any suitable example data sources. Ideally I'm looking for something that updates every few seconds; either ...
16
votes
6answers
822 views

Where can I get a world map with boundaries of regions and communities for commercial use?

I am looking for a vector file worldmap which should include as many boundaries reaching to a very small level (like ZIP-Codes/small communities/etc) as possible. The data of Natural Earth is quite ...
16
votes
1answer
448 views

Are there torrents that contain large free spatial datasets?

I've been having a lot of issues downloading entire datasets of SRTM or ASTER GDEM2 or similar free datasets, mainly because of poor services. Does anyone know of any torrents which contain such free ...
15
votes
8answers
425 views

Are there sources for more esoteric data than streets worldwide?

Related to this question. For example, things like: political world map (as polygons) cities of the world geolocated climate data (avg temp, humidity, rain, as polygons), earthquakes, hurricanes ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the wire format for Google's new vector map tiles?

Google recently released new vector cartography for their mobile maps. I'm curious if anyone here has any insight into the wire format they use for transmission? I've experimented with a few formats ...
14
votes
10answers
17k views

Where can I obtain an up-to-date list of US ZIP Codes with Latitude and Longitude Geocodes?

NOTE: This began as a question on Stack Overflow, which has subsequently been closed. I also noticed a similar question about Most Up-To-Date Source for US Zip Code Boundaries, but I believe this ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Where to download free elevation data for Europe?

Where can I find free elevation data for Europe? Please mention the available resolutions and terms of use when posting a source.
14
votes
4answers
9k views

Where can I find building footprint data?

Are there any sources for free and distributable building footprint datasets for major cities around the United States? Ideally, the data would also have the number of stories of each building; is ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best practice for data management? [duplicate]

I have always been curious how other folks are storing their spatial data. Outside of an enterprise environment where much data is stored in enterprise geodatabases, is it better to store data per ...
14
votes
1answer
560 views

How to best model GPS tracks for storage, visualization and analysis?

I am thinking about writing software to deal with GPS Tracks and Waypoints (mostly storing, displaying and calculating metrics such as speed, grade, and some simple statistics). I wonder what should ...
13
votes
7answers
12k views

Where can I find Canadian postal code geometries?

Where can I find the shapefiles for Canadian postal codes?
13
votes
7answers
5k views

Where can I find China data?

I'm looking for good free online sources of vector data on China (shapefiles of cities, provinces, terrain etc). Would anyone be able to suggest where to look? Are there any open repositories of this ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Simplifying adjacent polygons

I encountered a problem simplifying set of polygons that are adjacent. If I simplify each polygon separately with the Douglas–Peucker algorithm (which is used by many open source tools), the resulting ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

How to download the entire ASTER GDEMv2 dataset?

On October, NASA released the new ASTER GDEM global dataset (30m) and I have been wanting to get my hands on it. The only problem is that it takes forever to download and I do not feel like drawing ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Data naming convention - starting with a number

My company uses ArcGIS and has a project and data file naming standards in place and (for the most part) followed. Something that has always bothered me about he naming standards is that it mandates ...
13
votes
8answers
708 views

List of US government free GIS data online

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Converting SimpleGeo Places GeoJSON file to shapefile?

SimpleGeo has recently made their "Places" data set freely available which is GREAT, because now we can use it for our own purposes, even offline. So I went about downloading the 2GB dataset, which ...
13
votes
5answers
862 views

What iOS (iPhone/iPad) app from the App Store can I use to collect data?

What iOS app from the iTunes App Store can I use to collect data (mainly points, perhaps photos) and later import them into my GIS? I am mainly interested in an out-of-the-box solution, not develop ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Google Fusion Tables vs Amazon Web Services: which is better for GIS data?

What are the pros/cons for storing storing spatial data in Google Fusion Tables versus Amazon Web Services? Factors would include: Cost, performance, ease of update.
12
votes
6answers
838 views

What is the best way to visualize multiple large LIDAR tiles?

I want to load approximately 10 large LIDAR tiles for analysis. I have tried using ArcScene but it appears there is a limit on how much data ArcScene can handle at one time. Each tile is 65-90MB in ...
12
votes
2answers
954 views

Where is Wikipedia's coordinate information stored, and how can I retrieve it?

Background: I'd like to add icons to my map showing locations which have Wikipedia entries. The WikiLocation API is a great resource for determining Wiki entries near an XY location, but it has ...
12
votes
1answer
271 views

How do you organize your geodata?

A geodatabase doesn't provide much flexibility in organizing your data hierarchically. All feature sets live either at the top level of the database, or one level down in feature datasets. A feature ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Where can I find country borders data in human-readable format?

I'm trying to obtain some data representing the borders of all countries in the world. This data doesn't have to be very precise, it is to draw the countries on a computer screen. I did a bit of ...
11
votes
9answers
10k views

Is there a comprehensive list of latitude and longitude values for cities around the world?

I'm developing an application that calculates the distance between cities using their respective Longitude and Latitude values. But the problem is where to get a comprehensive list of latitude and ...
11
votes
7answers
15k views

Select distinct values from a single column of an attribute table (or layer)

Is there a way to select distinct values from a column in ArcMap? I have the data in both GDB and SHP formats. I have searched for ways to select using SQL, QueryLayers, ModelBuilder and individual ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a public shapefile with the London Underground stations and lines?

Is there a public shapefile containing the stations and lines of the London Underground? I've been doing some intensive searching but I can only find the coordinates of the stations, or the lines in ...
11
votes
6answers
578 views

Where can I find GIS data to test GIS coordinate operations?

I am trying to find some data that can be used to test GIS coordinate operations from one CRS to another CRS. So far all I have found is the Gold Data set and also various example points in the EPSG ...
11
votes
3answers
213 views

Know of a source of historical 24-hour rainfall totals for US locations?

I'm looking to get historical information on the magnitude of rainfall events for a given location (Boston, Massachusetts USA). For example, to create a histogram of rainfall events by precipitation ...
11
votes
2answers
728 views

Are any fictional worlds available in some GIS format?

In a discussion with colleagues, this question arose: is there any fictional world (e.g. Middle-earth, Discworld etc.) which could be used in a GIS context, e.g. a MBTiles archive and a shapefile or ...
11
votes
2answers
177 views

How could I rate roads for scenic drives?

relative GIS newbie here. I've been working on a personal project to rate roads on how nice a ride they'd be on a motorcycle. I wrote a Python program to work through road data in the TIGER dataset ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a good taxonomy or naming convention for files and folders containing GIS data?

My company has collected about 30 TBs of GIS data over the past 8 years, and I always find myself asking the following questions: What type of data do we have for a given geographic area? What are ...
10
votes
12answers
1k views

canvec: why so quiet? where are all the users?

It has now been a little over 3 years since Natural Resources Canada released CanVec, a national coast to coast to coast spatial dataset at 1:50,000 or better nominal scale. In the interverning time ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Define “geospatial data” for a non-GIS professional

I realize this is a sort of a subjective question, but I've seen other subjective questions on the site, so I thought it I'd put it out there. A colleague recently had a request for "geospatial data" ...
10
votes
4answers
909 views

Looking for a world database with locations of medical centers, schools, kindergartens, etc

Is there some database with official information about medical centers, schools, POI's and their geo coordinates for all countries in the world? It doesn't have to be free, but I need the GEO ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

Data types for storing lng/lat in MySQL

I'm storing a large list of lnt/lat points in a MySQL database. At the moment these are projected points for the UK in M, but in the long term I would like to make sure that I can store the ...