You've worked tirelessly gathering your data and conducting your analysis. Now it is time to present your findings. For spatial information, a map can be invaluable for conveying your message. And a well-crafted, good looking map is likely going to be most effective as a communication tool.
Data in this category can be useful for:
Many resources are available for finding the data necessary to create base maps and other cartographic content. For example, you may find political boundaries, cultural points of interest, and elevation data from a county GIS data portal. However, when you need to make maps at a national or global scale, or you are looking for flexible data tailored to the particular needs of cartographers, sites are available that may meet your needs.
Cartographic data of the type described here is typically provided by nation-wide organizations which may be public or private. Recently, this has begun to include crowd-sourced data sources. In many cases, this data is found in large repositories which require time to sift through, but which may provide the best chance at finding the specific data you need for your project.
You will find tutorials for using two frequently used data portals where cartographic data can be found:
Includes: World, individual countries, states, communities, railroads, airports, parks, physical features, raster imagery, and more
Includes: US topography, historical US topography, boundaries, elevation, place names, transportation, woodland tint, and more
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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.