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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Data

Geo-spatial data is available in a variety of places. The GIS Center in the Map Collection at Sterling Memorial Library is building a collection of geo-spatial data that is based primarily upon requests by patrons (see the Reference page for more information on how to make requests for Geo-Spatial data). Below is a list of some of the major geo-spatial data sets currently available at the GIS Center in the Map Collection:

  • 1990, 2000 SF1 U.S. Census, 2000 SF3 (Geolytics Census CD)
  • Africa Data Sampler (World Resources Institute)
  • Cambodian Genocide Project (Yale University)
  • Census Transportaion Planning Package (CTPP; for whole U.S.)
  • Digital Chart of the World (ESRI).
  • ESRI Data & Maps 2000 (7 CD's with coverage of the world, detailed of U.S. States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, ArcGIS StreetMap USA)
  • GIS of Panama (Eon Systems)
  • National Transportation Atlas Databases 2001 (BTS).
  • National Elevation Data (Conterminous U.S., Alaska and Hawaii)
  • Various LandSat 7 Satellite Photos
  • Historical United States County (HUSCO) Boundary Files -ArcView shapefile format county boundary files for the contiguous United States for each decade from 1790 through 1990. Can be used in combination with National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) data.

One of the major projects that the Yale Map Collection will be undertaking in the next year is the implementation of an online GIS data repository. This repository will be based upon ESRI's GIS Server technology and will include an online interface that will allow the users to query, subset and download the data from Yale's collection that they are interested in.

Spatial data can also be obtained at other places on campus. The Statlab, Gov Docs Library, Geology Library, and the Center for Earth Observation all have data that is, or can be, georeferenced. When searching fo data, remember that any dataset that has been collected or aggregated based upon a geographic boundary, place or other spatial entity, can probably be converted for use in GIS analysis software.

Likewise, print maps (historic maps, topographic series, geologic maps, etc...) can be scanned, georeferenced and converted to vector for analysis with other data in GIS software.

The Yale University Library catalog (Orbis) or Statcat (hosted by the Statlab) can be searched for holdings. Searching for geo-spatial data on Orbis can be a difficult task. There is no way to query the catalog just for geo-spatial data. The best thing to do is to limit your search to CD for format and try a variety of keywords.

There is also a large variety of geospatial data sets available outside of Yale. See the GIS Links page to view links to these resources. Increasingly, the internet is the single greatest resource for finding geospatial data. However, care should be taken when using data obtained from non-Yale sources. When possible, try to obtain data from reliable sources, such as those listed at Geodata.gov. Always examine the metadata for datasets you will use to determine how the data was produced, at what scale, how recently, etc....

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This file last modified Thursday, May 21, 2015 8:54 AM
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