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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

Wisconsin DNR Open Data Portal


Wisconsin DNR Open Data Portal


About: This is an extensive, free resource for locating, viewing, and downloading data developed and/or maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Data Available: Data can be downloaded as GIS shapefiles, KML, or spreadsheet. Data can also be loaded directly into ArcGIS Online for viewing and analysis.

Topics Include: Water, fish and wildlife, managed lands, environmental protection, parks and recreation, forestry, transportation, indexes and PLSS, boundaries, landcover and vegetation


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".

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