Service: By Type

Data & Software Searching:

Map Collection:

The first step of searching for geo-spatial data can be a very difficult and time consuming task. This service is provided by the GIS Service at the Map Collection. One thing that must be understood about GIS is that there is a lot of jargon which the user would have to be familiar with in order to do an effective search for geo-spatial data. While this web site provides a some GIS jargon basics, it takes some time to become accustomed with the many sources of geo-spatial data and the many ways to search these sources. Generally, it is expected that the patron will do his or her best to search for needed geo-spatial data, then consult the GIS Service when they have exhausted the extent of their searching capability.

Besides geo-spatial data, there is a range of statistical and cartographic data and products that serve as a piece of the complete geo-spatial data set. For example, there may be a statistical table with variables describing certain economic values broken down by municipal districts in the Philippines but no geographic features representing these municipalities. A solution to creating a complete geo-spatial data set with this piece may be finding a vector file that contains the Philippines municipal boundaries to which the statistical table could be linked.

The GIS Service at the Map Collection provides a mechanism through which the patron can work to find solutions to these processing problems. However, providing searches for quasi geo-spatial data is limited mostly to cartographic data rather than statistical data. Services provided by other libraries on campus may be more suitable for finding statistical data. For example, if you needed to find statistics on the occurence of asthma in children in Connecticut by town and wanted to map it out, the Epidemiology and Public Health Library may be a more appropriate place to find the statistical data. Once found, then the GIS Service could help the patron determine the utility of the statistical data as a geo-spatial data set and find town boundaries to link to the statistical table.

If no exsisting digital cartographic files can be found for the patron, the GIS Service can also search the wealth of paper maps provided by the Map Collection as well as other cartographic sources to help the patron convert the paper maps into geo-referenced cartographic vector files.

Before requesting geo-spatial data, a patron should narrow the focus of what they are looking for and the purpose of using the data in their research. Generally the patron should provide some basic elements with requests for geo-spatial data: a specific geographic location or scope, preferred geographic units, scale, resolution, thematic type(s) of data desired projection, and coordinate system.


The Statlab has a variety of data and software services. It holds the entire ESRI 8 piece CD set available for use on a network. They can help patrons locate these specific data sets. The Statlab also provides assistance with finding or customizing software scripts and extensions for ArcView. In addition, the Statlab also provides assistance searching StatCat.

Social Science Libraries & Information
Services / Government Documents & Information Center:

The Social Science Libraries & Information Services and Government Documents & Information Center have deep expertise in locating statistical data sets. Librarians in both locations can provide assistance in searching StatCat, which provides information about the holdings of Yale's Social Science Data Archive as well as datasets available in the Yale University Library and on the Internet. SSLIS and GDIC librarians can also assist with searching Orbis for numeric datasets that can be used in GIS projects. The Government Documents & Information Center holds a vast amount of federal government geo-spatial data and can assist patrons in locating and using these data sets.

Geology Library:

No service at this time.


The EPH library can assit patrons in finding statistical Epidemiology and Public Health data that can be converted for use in GIS.

Center for Earth Observation:

The CEO can assist in locating remote sensing data such as airphotos and satellite photos that can be used in GIS.


Yale University / Yale University Library
Last update: May 7, 2003 8:24
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