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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

Milwaukee County Data


  1. Introduction
  2. How to get GIS data
  3. LiDAR data direct download
  4. Topo-Planimetric attribute definitions

Milwaukee County Land and Information Office (MCLIO) Data


About: This is the GIS open data portal for Milwaukee County. The Topo-Planimetric county-wide data download offers users some of the most comprehensive basemap data available for Milwaukee County, including natural and man-made features. The Cadastral county-wide data download includes basemap information about real estate and property. Each are available county-wide or for specific areas. 

Data Available: MCLIO spatial data are available for download as .SHP or .KML and as .PNG, .JPG, and .TIF in the case of aerial photos.

Topics Include:

  • Topo-Planimetric Data
    • Vegetation: 
      • Marshes, Trees
    • Planimetric: 
      • Fences, Structures, Ruins, Dams, Piers, Sea Walls or Dock Walls, Bridges, Cemeteries, Concrete, Open Storage, Stockpiles, Areas Under Construction, Quarries, Guard Rails, Overhead Structures, Patios or Decks, Pools, Tanks or Silos, Signs or Billboards, Walls, Propane Tanks
    • Water: 
      • Water Bodies, Water Flow, Culverts
    • Park: 
      • Athletic Fields, Courts, Baseball Diamonds, Bleachers, Golf Courses
    • Survey Control: 
      • National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Triangulation Stations, Traverse Stations, Photo Centers, Bench Marks
    • Topo Contours: 
      • Index Contours, Index Depressions, Approximate Index Contours, Approximate Index Depressions, Intermediate Contours, Intermediate Depressions, Approximate Intermediate Contours, Approximate Intermediate Depressions, Text Clipped Intermediate Contours and Depressions, Building Clipped Intermediate Contours and Depressions, Spot Elevation, Water Elevation
    • Transportation: 
      • Paved Roads, Paved Road Medians or Boulevards, Clipped Paved Roads, Private Roads, Private Road Medians or Boulevards, Unimproved Roads, Paved Driveways, Unpaved Driveways, Paved Parking, Unpaved Parking, Trails, Sidewalks, Railroads, Abandoned Railways, Paved Airport Runways, Unpaved Airport Runways, Paved and Unpaved Shoulders
    • Utility: 
      • Tower Footings, Transmission Towers, Communications Towers, Power or Telephone Poles, Light Poles, Pipelines, Substation Structures
  • Cadastral Data
    • The Cadastral data download offers users land ownership, real estate, and property taxation information. These can be downloaded for specific areas, or county-wide.
  • MCAMLIS Cadastral data download includes:
    • Condos, Certified Survey Maps, Cartographic Features, Street Right of Way, Parcels including dimensions, Taxkeys, Roads and Railways, Sub-Developments

Many of these layers and more are available individually via the MCLIO Data Download Portal. Also available here are LAS point files and aerial photographs.


How to get GIS data

1. Select a data category based on the topic you are looking for.

2. You can browse available datasets, filter the results using options on the left side of the page, or search for data in the search box at the top of the page.

3. Select a dataset by clicking on its name.

4. View the information about the selected data to ensure that it meets your needs. The map at the top of the page is interactive and displays the extent of the dataset. The abstract provides background on how and why the data was created. The attributes include all columns which would be included in the layer's attribute table. Switching from the "Overview" tab to the "Data" tab will display the attribute table in its entirety.

5. To download the data, click the "Download" button and choose the desired format from the dropdown menu. Choose to save the file to your computer.

6. If you wish to use this data in ArcGIS Online, below the "About" section, click the link titled "Create Webmap".

Data Download Form

Data Download Form

Some data must be requested for download from the MCLIO. Typically, these include files of large size such as LiDAR products and aerial photos. There are also geodatabase (.gdb) files of data such as tax parcels and topographic lines. After the form is submitted, the MCLIO sends the requester an email with the data to download. See:

GIS Service Endpoints

Connecting to Milwaukee County GIS Web Services

By clicking the "GIS Service Endpoints" box in MCLIO's homepage, users can connect to data hosted on the web. There is no need to download the data onto a hard drive, and the data are regularly maintained and updated by the MCLIO. For example, a user can pull historical aerial photography data from the web service and create a custom webmap in ArcGIS Online. Since the file sizes of aerial photos tend to be quite large, the web service method can save a lot of storage space compared to the more traditional client/server method.

LiDAR available via MCLIO

Looking for LiDAR data?

Download data directly here. Includes DEM, Hillshade, Smooth, Slope, Height Above Ground, and LAS Point files are available for Milwaukee County.

Download 2010 LiDAR Data: for DEM, Hillshade, Smooth, Slope, Height Above Ground, and LAS Points.

Download 2015 LiDAR Data: (Currently only DEM and LAS Points for 2015). 

MCAMLIS Documentation

Attribute Definitions

Use these PDFs to understand your Topo-Planimetric data download:

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