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Finding and Using GIS Data

The AGS Library's Guide to Finding GIS data and working with it for your specific project needs

City of Milwaukee


City of Milwaukee GIS Data

Open Data Portal:

Map Milwaukee:

About: Under the City's 2016 Open Data Policy, there is now a open data portal for City of Milwaukee data.  Many of the familiar services provided by the city, such as the Map Milwaukee Portal, are still active and useful.  Others, such as COMPASS, have changed dramatically as the new data portal has become the preferred method for data retrieval. 

Data Available: Data from the City of Milwaukee comes in a variety of formats depending on the dataset. Formats include GIS shapefile, KML, table, and Esri REST. Note: Some datasets are cannot be downloaded or manipulated, but are viewable online. Please contact us at if you have questions about obtaining a dataset in a format which is not available through the city portal.

Topics Include: Aldermanic districts, voting wards, neighborhoods, police districts, properties, parcels, streets, schools, snow removal, leaf collection, streetcar routes and stops, neighborhood strategic planning areas, and more.

Also in this Guide: City of Milwaukee MPROP (Master Property Record) user guide.

About the Open Data Portal

Available Data

In the Open Data Portal's homepage, there are a few ways to search for and locate datasets:

  • Type in keywords inside the large search bar towards the top of the page.
  • The "Datasets" and "Organizations" links at the top respectively bring up all available datasets and those according to which city organization it belongs.
  • Click a category under the "Groups" heading, e.g. Housing & Property.

Not all data in the portal is geospatial. For example, some are in the .csv tabular format found in Microsoft Excel. These data can often be geocoded or joined with spatial data in a GIS software. Data can be a web service as well (typically in ESRI REST format), where the method of data delivery is web-based rather than the traditional client/server method.

GIS Service Endpoints

City of Milwaukee GIS Web Services

Map Milwaukee's GIS Web Services page connects users to data hosted on the web. There is no need to download the data onto your computer, and the data are regularly maintained and updated by the city. For example, a user can pull U.S. Census data from the web service and create a custom webmap in ArcGIS Online. For large-sized files, the web service method can save a lot of storage space compared to the more traditional client/server method.

Note: The above link provides related information beyond the actual data. Click "Link to REST endpoint for all services" in the GIS Web Services homepage to view the datasets themselves.


Available Data Include:

  • Neighborhoods and opportunity zones
  • Schools and school board districts
  • Property assessments
  • Census data, including 2010 decennial census and ACS five-year averages
  • Department of Public Works (DPW): Forestry; operations; sanitation; streetcar; parking meters; paving program
  • Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO): Basement backups by year; green infrastructure; DPW basement connection areas
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District: Watersheds; sub-basins; combined sewer area; total impervious areas; constraints
  • Elections: Aldermanic districts; polling places; voting wards; county supervisor districts; state senate & assembly districts; U.S. Congressional districts
  • GeoEventFleet, which helps DPW track its vehicles
  • Locator
  • Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD): Stations; areas of responsibility; community outreach
  • Milwaukee Police Department (MPD): Crime; districts; reporting districts; squad areas; stations; various layers for GIS use
  • Planning: FEMA floodways, Special Flood Hazard Areas, & market value analysis; DCD special districts; Targeted Investment Neighborhoods; historic preservation sites; Community Development Grants Administration; zoning
  • Properties/parcels
  • Reference maps
  • Community living arrangement facilities
  • Licensed locations for various types of businesses
  • Strong Neighborhoods Plan
  • Utilities: Various layers that support geoprocessing and geocoding within online mapping software

For complete documentation of Map Milwaukee GIS Web Services, see

See our "How To: Web Services" page for information about using web services.


City of Milwaukee Services

City of Milwaukee Webmaps

The City of Milwaukee has maps available for viewing on their webpage or via a web service connection in ArcMap. The features available for viewing are immutable, and cannot be downloaded or manipulated. If you are interested in obtaining data as a direct download from the City of Milwaukee, please contact us at, and we will work on obtaining this data for you.

How to Use MPROP

What is MPROP?

MPROP is the Master Property Record for the City of Milwaukee. It is a large table that contains one record for each property in the city. This record is updated every Monday, so the information is always up-to-date. 

There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from using the Master Property Record (MPROP), especially in a GIS setting. You can find:

  • Taxkey
  • Area of property
  • Address
  • Legal description
  • Owner name
  • Owner mailing address
  • Area of buildings on property
  • Number of beds
  • Baths
  • Fireplaces
  • Year built


MPROP also contains Land Use Categories.

The Land Use Codes contained in MPROP are expansive. Please find a full description in the MPROP documentation (PDF) provided with this LibGuide. Navigate to Appendix G to find explanations of the codes:

These 12 categories are then expanded into sub-categories. The subcategories provide specific land use information for each property. For example, the following is taken from the expansion of Land Use Category 5, "Wholesale and Retail Trade." What this means is that using MPROP, one could visualize in a map all of the places in Milwuakee that sell footwear (Category 5, Subcategory 5139).


The complete list of available sub-categories is located within Appendix G of the MPROP Documentation. 

How to Use MPROP with GIS Software

The City of Milwaukee makes an updated Master Property Record available every Monday in tabular form. They also provide a parcel boundary shapefile. One can download the table only, and search for records individually, but in order to perform high-level analysis and data visualization, it is necessary to join the MPROP table with the parcel boundary shapefile.

Included below are instructions on how to do this. For help using MPROP data, or to receive a pre-joined MPROP/parcel shapefile, fill out the AGSL's Data Request Form, or email us at

Download MPROP Tables and Join them with Parcelbase Boundary Shapefile

1. Download both the Parcel Polygons (in shapefile format) and MPROP table (in .csv format) from the Open Data Portal. Move them to a working folder of your choice.

  • For the parcel polygons, click the year you want (e.g. Parcelbase2021), then click "Download" in the new page.

2. Extract (unzip) the parcel shapefile in the working folder of your choice. 

3. Open table and parcel shapefile in ArcMap. Be patient with the MPROP table; it can take a long time to load the data into ArcMap and open the attribute table. 

4. Right-click parcel boundary shapefile and select Joins and Relates > Joins.

5. Join parcel layer and MPROP table based on field "TAXKEY"

Now the layers are one and each parcel has its corresponding property ownership and land use information attached.

6. If you wish to work with a smaller area, select area of interest (either manually or by query). Then right click the parcelbase layer and choose Selection > Create Layer From Selected Features. 

7. Important! If you want the join to save, you will need to export and create a new shapefile. Joins are not automatically permanent. Right-click the joined layer, select Data > Export Data. Choose where you want to save the new shapefile and press 'Save.' You should now be able to access your new joined parcelbase and MPROP data whenever you want

MPROP Attribute Table Documentation

Use this helpful documentation to make sense of MPROP attribute table.

The Contents of Finding and Using GIS Data may be reused with attribution for Non-Commercial purposes.

Finding and Using GIS Data by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License