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.

2 Answers 2


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 http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=msi_portal_page_62&pubCode=0015

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!

  • 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
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 1:45

Here is an excellent source of ports related information: http://www.portsdb.com

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.