I'm not sure of the right terminology to use to google for a database of information.

The data in the database should list geographic characteristics of an arbitrary lat/long. Stuff like height relative to sea level, country name, mountainous, prairie, tundra, desert, ocean, ocean trench, etc...

I have tried looking for geographic data by lat/long and ended up with what looks to be map data (NaturalEarthData.com)

I've looked at Spatial data? Geodata? Geographic Data? Geospatial data? and it looks like I need to avoid Geographic Data and look for either Spatial data or Geospatial data, but I'd like to get some confirmation on the matter.

I've also seen the various comments on the site pointing to opendata.se, and will post a question about the actual dataset there. This question is specific to what kind of terminology should I be using when discussing the type of data that I'm looking for?

  • Although this doesn't answer your question, for an actual dataset checkout Yale's G-Econ project, particularly this spreadsheet. Ultimately, if you want to set up your own analysis, though, I'd recommend looking for landcover datasets (e.g. here) and for elevation a digital elevation model (DEM) (e.g. here). – James Conkling Jul 2 '16 at 23:47
  • @JamesConkling I think the landcover datasets are closest to what I'm looking for. Thanks for the resources. right now I'm still trying to figure out how to interpret and extract the data but from the map it shows exactly the kind of stuff I want to get. – ton.yeung Jul 3 '16 at 4:14

The types of data you appear to seek are topography (or topographic data) and land cover data – both probably at a relatively small scale (continental or country in scope).

Another term to consider is atlas data because general-purpose world atlases tend to show the data you describe.


Each item of "stuff" corresponds to a layer and/or a field within a layer.

You should not expect to find this data pre-linked to every possible lat/long value because there are an infinite number of those.

Instead to find what "stuff" exists at particular lat/long locations you need to use those locations to interrogate the layers you are interested in to find out what is there.

I would recommend reading more about layers and spatial data as a way to incorporate more spatial thinking into your vocabulary.

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