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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

The National Map details

The National Map


About: The National Map is a collaborative effort among the USGS and other Federal, State, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information for the Nation. It has many uses ranging from recreation to scientific analysis to emergency response. The National Map is easily accessible for display on the Web, as products and services, and as downloadable data. The geographic information available from The National Map includes orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover.

Data Available: Data comes in various formats, including GIS shapefile, geodatabase, (Geo)TIFF, LAS/LAZ (LiDAR), ArcGrid (raster),

Topics Include: US topography, historical US topography, boundaries, 1-meter NAIP imagry, hydrography, elevation, place names, map indices, transportation, woodland tint, national landcover database, and more.

The National Map general instructions

How to get GIS data

1. Navigate to the data portal

2. Check the box by the dataset you wish to download

3. Use the options at the top of the map to choose search criteria 

4. Map indices can help by displaying the 1 degree, 15 minute, 7.5 minute, or all quadrangle boundaries on the map (Some products are “tiled” by these indices)

5. Click 'Find products'

6. In the 'Products' tab, add your desired products to the cart

7. View Cart

8. Download products

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