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Research Guides

GIS Data Sources

In addition to the links below, Maps & GIS maintains an extensive local GIS data collection of College Station, Bryan, and Brazos County. Please use our Data Request Form to request local datasets.
Shapefiles of county and city limits, cemeteries, rivers, streams, railroads, roads, and 100-year floodplain.
Property search application displays the properties and associated tax reports. Our Library catalog holds the BCAD Data from 2004-2012, available to review and copy at Map and GIS Collections and Services.
Interactive Mapping Service offers preliminary flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). The final FIRM is available after the appeal process and the final determination is made.
Aerials, streets, new developments, school districts, capital improvements, cemetery (ownership and grave location), census, garage sales, and sex offender mapping services.
City GIS files and maps.
Maps, sites, and tools concerning our campus locations. 
TAMU buildings, bus routes, athletic facilities, landmarks, and points of interest on campus.
Facilities and land use information to support the planning processes of Texas A&M University and its many constituencies.

Austin GIS OpenData

Geodatabases, shapefiles, and Google KMZ files of airports, bridges, streets, city limits, contours, county boundaries, flood zone, Envision Central Texas (ECT) Model, Hydrography, Land Fragmentation Analysis, Landfills, Orthos (1997-2008), Parcels (2005, 2008), topos, vegetation, soils, and more.
Aerials (1962-2008), address points, utilities, topography, land use, zoning, environmental, transportation, base maps, and regional data.
Map viewer of the city’s GIS data and associated database information. 

Parcel information and links to parcel appraisal account information.
Parcel, contours, transportation, boundaries, floodplain, aerials from 2011-2017, and other useful layers.
GIS coordinator for 16-counties of North Central Texas, centered around the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Geographic data for the NCTCOG region, as well aerial photography and digital elevation contours available for purchase by its members at a much-reduced cost.
Shapefiles and maps of parcels; county, city, and school district boundaries; hydrography and more.


Houston GIS OpenData

Over 300 data layers. Portions of GIMS data is available only to City of Houston agencies, however some are accessible to the public. ROW and bikeways data are available only to view, but not for download. 
Clearinghouse for municipal GIS datasets for the City of Houston. Contains a link to Houston GIS OpenData and more. Datasets include: administrative boundaries, locations, routes, pavement, right-of-way, subdivision, and Lambert Facet Page--grids commonly used by Harris County Appraisal District and City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering.
Appraisal, city, college, county, emergency, fire, highway, school polygons, and other data.
Harris County data and more.
Available by contacting the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department Architecture and Engineering Division GIS Group. 
Vector data covers only the H-GAC region; however, several are regional and statewide.
Data is free to TAMU students who are conducting research projects. Licensing restrictions apply. Please ask for the CD at Map and GIS front desk. The LibCat record provides more information.
STATEMAP GIS Databases (selected areas),  and a set of interactive maps with its downloadable data of sequestrian of greenhouse gases in brine-formation database, Texas Coastal Hazard Atlas, Texas Shoreline Change Project, and Sand Resources of SE Texas Continental Shelf. Digital data is available with a fee, including digital quadrangle (DQ) Geologic Atlas of Texas on CD-Roms. Through STATEMAP Project Geologic Maps, black and white geologic maps of selected locations are offered for a fee.
Railroad Commission of Texas' viewer for oil, gas, and pipeline data. It links to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department GIS Lab, which offers downloadable data in arc interchange and shapefile format, and a PDF map gallery. It directs to the Texas Water Development Board GIS Data, which offers maps, GIS data and interactive maps; TNRIS and StartMap GIS Data; and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality GIS portal.
Detailed information and location coordinates for oil wells, gas wells, and pipelines from the Commission's files with base map data captured from U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute quadrangle maps.
Boundaries, policy data (coastal management zones and building code), transportation, census, rainfall, topography, ecological, hydrology, protected areas, recreation areas, development (property values, populated places, dams, and wetland permits), natural hazards, coastal development, and offshore risk data. Some open access layers are available to download as shapefiles.
Lists the 24 regional council of governments (COGs) in Texas. COGs often have a GIS department to produce and coordinate digital geographic data for their area of interest. Some COGS are more proactive in sharing data, but most have some GIS data to share even if it is not posted online.
Viewer dedicated to Eduard Aquifer that offers a spatial queries mapping application with SUPERFUNDS (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) and  MSD (Municipal Settings Designations) sites, and water wells data. GIS Data for the Atlas of Texas Surface Waters, hydrology, site layers of current locational data in TCEQ Program Area, TCEQ regulatory/administrative boundaries, and land use/land cover (LULC) layers are available to download.
COGs data, including: control sections, highways, imagery, Metro Planning Organizations (MPO), national highway system, railroads, traffic counts, and Texas trunk system routes. Also, a county grid map is available for printing.
Texas Counties data, including: relief maps (JPEGS), boundaries, roads, populated places, hydrology, census data, satellite imagery, and DEMs.
Interactive maps; demographic and election reports for current state house, state senate, Texas Congressional, and State Board of Education districts; as well as selected redistricting proposals. All redistricting proposals that have been made public in the legislative process are available while they are under consideration.
Through the Strategic Mapping Program (StratMap), TNRIS maintains statewide digital geographic data. Data available at different geographic levels:
  • State level: bathymetry, StratMap boundaries, hydrological unit code (HUC) map, railroads, natural regions, airports, TX Gazeteer, LandSat, precipitation, USGS and satellite indexes
  • County level: Original Texas Land Survey (OTLS), FEMA Q3 Flood data, census, StratMap transportation (updated digital version from 7.5’ USGS Quads), TxDOT Off/On system and urban files, US Census Tiger data, digital raster graphic (DRG) county mosaics
  • Quad level: 24K, 100K and 250K DRGs, Digital Contours, 1:24K National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), elevation [Digital Elevation Model (DEM), National Elevation Dataset (NED) and hillshade], 250 K Geologic Atlas of Texas (GAT), SPOT  and DOQQ imagery
Reference and thematic maps in PDF format, and TIGER census and congressional district data.
GIS datasets of various natural features defined by TWDB. Data is offered in geodatabase or shapefile formats. Most requested maps are available as PDF/JPEG.
Free aerial photos of the Texas Coast.



United States
Population, housing, economic, and geographic data.
Free online map services, map layers, documents, and tools, such as geocoding and routing.  The content includes several online maps, such as: multi-scale imagery, street maps, topographic maps, shaded relief, and demographics.
Complete atlas for each state created by the Newberry LIbrary: a master shapefile (polygons), metadata, comprehensive database, and historical chronologies. KMZ files also available.
Community planning develop maps across the country, containing many different types of data including transportation, environmental, boundaries, housing market analysis. among others.
Cropland Data Layers (CDL) from the USDA. The CDL is a geo-referenced raster of crop-specific land cover created annually for the continental United States using moderate resolution satellite imagery and extensive agricultural ground truth.
 Composes the National Coastal Assessment Framework (CAF), providing NOAA’s GIS data of counties, states, boundaries, watersheds, shorelines, etc.
The U.S. Census Bureau's Data Federated Electronic Research, Review, Extraction and Tabulation Tool. A data mining and extraction tool that allows you to select a “databasket” full of variables and then recode those variables as you need in the form of table, chart, graph, or map. It can be installed as an application on your desktop or accessed via your internet browser. It offers a wide range of data topics, including: census, economic, health, income and unemployment, population, labor, cancer, crime, transportation, family dynamics, vital statistics, and more.
Collection of US Government data in a single comprehensive visualization engine.
Land use/land cover from the 1970s and 1980s.
Environmental information, including: air releases, drinking water, toxic releases, hazardous wastes, water discharge permits, and Superfund sites.
Information regarding facilities or sites subject to environmental regulation. It features downloadable XML, KML, shapefiles, and feature classes. Datasets include Superfund National Priority List (NPL); EPA and State Treatment, Storage, Disposal facilities; Toxic Release Inventory System; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Majors; Large Quantity Generators; Air Facility System, Corrective Actions; and more.
Land use/land cover data.
FCC licensing data, regulated towers and market area boundaries, including Cellular, Antenna Structure Registration, AM and FM databases.
Official statistical information produced by the Federal Government. No GIS data is provided.
An official spatial repository for statistical data produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research offers a census data collection that contains detailed county and state level ecological and descriptive data for the United States for the years 1790 to 2002. The TAMU community has direct access to download data by creating an account using the e-mail.
Data concerning residential distribution of people involved in the criminal justice system. It uses aggregated address data to map the flow of people being removed to prison, reentering communities from prison, and the standing population concentrations of people under parole or probation supervision. Data can be exported in in Excel, PDF, and JPEG formats.
Statistical publications and datasets produced by Federal agencies, states, and intergovernmental organizations with its advanced Search Tables functionality. GIS data is not provided.
Historical and international census data, and population data. It offers historical census samples for the United States, innovative tools for the electronic dissemination of demographic data, and improved comparability and documentation of census microdata across time and space. GIS data is not provided.
National Land Cover Datasets.
Comprehensive list of GIS and geography related websites. It includes link categories such as U.S. federal Agencies, professional organizations, universities and research Institutes, and Commercial or Open Sources. The website allows searching datasets by topic, each one with a detailed description and its geographic coverage. Datasets are presented through web-based and  desktop GIS interfaces.
Free, aggregated census data and boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2000. The geographic units offered are state, county, county subdivision, census tract, block, block group, MSAs, place, voting district, zipcode, congressional district, etc. Data can be downloaded in ASCII, SPSS, SAS, STATA command file formatting, and comma or GIS comma-separated, column-delimited, and shapefiles data formats. 
High-quality, geospatial data and information from the USGS as well as other federal, state, and local partners. It includes orthoimagery, elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover. It offers several interactive viewers:
  • National Map Viewer contains data sets from many contributing agencies.
  • USGS TopoView includes TopoView offers access to JPEG's, GeoTFF's, KMZ's, and GeoPDF's of the USGS's Historical Togographic Map Collection. 
  • National Map Seamless Server is the primary site to download USGS imagery, elevation and land cover data.
  • National Map ‘Best Practices’ Viewer offers the most up-to-date National Map road, boundaries, structures, and other vector data.
  • National Hydrography Data (NHD) Viewer contains hydrography digital spatial data, such as: lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, springs and wells. It offers data extraction on medium, high or local resolution, and is delivered as personal geodatabase, file geodatabase, or shapefile.
Dynamically-generated maps of renewable energy resources. It also offers downloadable GIS data and geospatial toolkits via FTP.
National geographic databases of transportation infrastructure and facilities.
NGA's GEOINT services, including DEM data of the Arctic and Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
Interactive mapping application created by the Coastal Services Center that features tropical cyclone data of both Atlantic and Eastern North pacific basins.
World's largest active archive of weather and climate data. The center develops both national and global datasets. Data is extracted via the GIS Map Services Index.
Interactive maps including data from the Earth and sun, including Earth observations from space and sea floor data. It offers software and conversion tools, as well as downloadable shapefiles extracted from interactive maps
Directory database of 12 million U.S. businesses, from local sole proprietorships to Fortune 500 corporations. Searches include company name, business size, corporate linkages, SIC/NAICS, and detailed geographic information. Data extraction and viewing tutorials are available on how to harvest selected data and  map downloaded data.
A web-based interface that offers U.S. demographic information, including historical data starting in 1940.
The U.S. Census Bureau's Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing System offers shapefiles for the United States. Legal and statistical geographic areas are offered, as well as features like roads, railroads, rivers, and more. The shapefiles do not include demographic data, but they contain geographic entity codes (i.e. FIPS) that can be linked to U.S. Census demographic data available at American FactFinder. Cartographic Boundaries of 1990, 2000 and other selected years are available to download.
Dataset made available by Microsoft, contains 125,192,184 computer generated building footprints in all 50 US states. This data is freely available for download and use.
Collection of searchable datasets pertaining to urban development, including: fair market rents, public housing buildings, public housing developments, jobs proximity index, and many more.
Data at scales ranging from 1:12,000 to 1:500,000. They are organized by state with source, theme, spatial coverage, scale, metadata, and data link information available for each item. It also offers data from other agencies.
Natural resources and environmental data. The Gateway allows you to choose your area of interest, browse and select data from the catalog, customize the format, and have it downloaded via FTP site or shipped on CD or DVD. Themes include orthoimagery, soils, common land unit, cultural and demographics, geographic boundaries and places, elevation hydrography, cadastral, transportation, digital raster quads, land cover/vegetation/plants, watershed boundaries, wetlands, precipitation and temperature, flood hazards, and national inventory of dams/water control infrastructures.
Soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world, including soil maps and data for more than 95 percent of the U.S. counties. The electronic version of published soil surveys can be accessed here.
Over 50,000 7.5-minute USGS topographic maps to view in Google Earth, created by Google Earth Library.
Free access to terrain, land use/land cover (LULC) and digital line graph (DLG) data.
Free raster and vector data, aerials, GPS maps, DEMs, and satellite imagery. It also offers indexes and  georeferenced topographic maps
This site provides comprehensive forestry data for countries within the Congo Basin. For Cameroon, these resources contain shapefiles and rasters pertaining to forestry, conservation, extractive permits, towns, hydrography, infrastructure, administrative boundaries, industrial plantations, and vegetation.
Central Afrian Republic
This site provides comprehensive forestry data for countries within the Congo Basin. For the Central African Republic, these resources contain shapefiles pertaining to conservation, extractive permits, towns, hydrography, road networks and factories, administrative boundaries, relief, and vegetation.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
This site provides comprehensive forestry data for countries within the Congo Basin. For the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these resources contain shapefiles and rasters pertaining to conservation, towns, hydrography, infrastructure, administrative boundaries, logging concessions, and vegetation.
Equatorial Guinea
This site provides comprehensive forestry data for countries within the Congo Basin. For the Equatorial Guinea, these resources contain shapefiles and rasters pertaining to community forestry, towns, hydrography, administrative boundaries, road networks, and vegetation.
This site provides comprehensive forestry data for countries within the Congo Basin. For Gabon, these resources contain shapefiles and rasters pertaining to land allocation, towns, hydrography, administrative boundaries, infrastructure, and vegetation.
Provides shapefiles and raster data that cover the climatological, physical, biological, cultural, and historical aspects of Namibia. It is based on data from a work,Atlas of Namibia Project (2002), attributed to the Directorate of Environmental Affairs within the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (URL ).
A census of the dunes within the Namib Sand Sea as well as their forcing factors. Data are in raster format.
Data of populated places, administrative boundaries, roads, railways, hydrology, bathymetry, glaciers, and sea ice. This portal also offers free base maps.
Raster data, such as satellite images or scanned topographic maps, vector data, such as national-scale frameworks (grouped by theme), and a database of ground control points.
The Canadian natural resources databases, available free of charge, including: maps, geophysical surveys, geochemical data, mineral and fossil fuel data, rock properties, marine geoscience, and more.
Hydrology, temperatures, and petroleum. 
Canada's central statistical agency. It provides data related to population, resources, economy, society, and culture. It offers tabular data, maps, and boundary files.

(Environmental Information and Climate Change Unit) Contains environmental reports for the forest and mangrove ecosystems(with maps in PDF format) as well as monthly climate status reports.

Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia (National Institute of Statistics and Geography) INEGI offers mapping services and tabular data. Users should explore the website and select the interactive map that best fits their project. Some examples are:

North America
A collaborative initiative between government agencies in Canada, Mexico and the United States.” It assembles a growing number of foundational and thematic map layers. By comparing these layers, users can better understand and quantify critical trends and interrelationships at a continental scale." It includes themes such as basemap, watersheds, terrestrial ecoregions, human influence, marine ecosystems, climate, and industrial pollution.
Boundary files covering the administrative regions of China. Data is offered at a scale of one to one million for national, provincial, regional, and county levels.
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Channel Data, NOAA AVHRR-based NDVI Data,Landsat TM, Land Use/Land Cover, World Database on protected areas (biosphere reserves), RAMSAR, and World Heritage sites. Basic data are also offered, including boundaries (province and county), digital elevation models (DEM), stream network, and transportation systems.
Hosted by the University of Michigan. The dataset integrates historical, social and natural science data in a GIS. Data is offered as tables, printable maps, and charts.
Free GIS data that are particularly useful for conduct research on biodiversity.
Created by the Global Landscapes Initiative and hosted by the University of Minnesota, includes: water depletion; cropland and pasture areas; harvest areas and yields for crops; yield gaps and climate bins; fertilizer applications, consumption, and balance; potential natural vegetation; and carbon stocks in potential natural vegetation.
Hosted by World Resources Institute, offers many maps in HTML or PDF format with different themes to show Earth trends. Maps are created using a variety of sources.
Created by the European Space Agency (ESA), offers satellite imagery from around the world in the highest resolution available as TIFF and JPEG images. The gallery contains images used throughout the ESA Portal; most of them have been released publicly from ESA. You may use ESA images for educational or informational purposes.
Open source of geospatial data that facilitates sharing geographically referenced thematic information between different organizations with the purpose of improving access and integrating use, support decision making, and promote multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable development. Data for different regions of the worlds are available on themes such as boundaries, agriculture, applied ecology, bio and ecological resources, climate, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, human health, hydrology and water resources, infrastructures, LCLU, population and socio-economic indicators, satellite imagery, soils and topography.
Global near real-time fire information to users to support natural resource and fire managers around the World. FIRMS delivers active fires detected using the MODIS active fire locations processed by the MODIS Rapid Response System. Active fire/hotspot detections in shapefile format are available for the last 24 hours, 48 hours and 7 day time periods. These shape files are updated every hour. Data in KML, NASA World Wind, Web Fire Mapper (WMS), and Climate Modeling Grid (CMG) are also available.
Spatial database of world administrative boundaries (countries, provinces, departments, etc.). Data is available in various file extensions such as shapefile, geodatabase, KML, and R. 
Created by the University of Maryland, provides earth science data and products concerning global environmental systems. It focuses on remote sensing data and products that explain land cover from local to global scales. Data can be searched, browsed, and downloaded from the Earth Science Data Interface.
Open source data site of Africa and Central America. It includes administrative boundaries, base maps, outline, and satellite imagery. It also offers global administrative areas with subdivisions such as provinces, departments, districts, and more.
Database of protected land.
UN statistical databases, tables, and glossaries containing over 60 million data points that include themes from agriculture, human development, technological developments, industry, and trade. Also available are millennium development goals and indicators.
A network of professionals working in the fields of cartography and geographic information science to build the UN Spatial Data Infrastructure needed to achieve sustainable development. Several portals are listed, each one offers data and interactive viewers or KML files to view in Google Earth.
Interactive service used to contrast and compare maps of cities around the world, in a single location.
One of the largest collections of Earth imagery: satellite images and data, aerial photography, elevation and land cover, digitized maps, and more.
Global land cover database primarily derived from 1992 to 1993 1-km AVHRR data. Data is available in a flat, header-less binary raster format that can be imported to geographic information technologies such as ArcGIS.
Historical land use and land cover classification data that was based primarily on the manual interpretation of 1970's and 1980's aerial photography.
Assists in identifying suitable land cover data sets of the most accurate and up-to-date land cover data available. It provides links to organizations that distribute and use land cover data.
Earthquake data in KML, CSV, and XML format. Different viewers, maps, and animations are available for real-time and historic earthquake data.
Online search and order tool for selected satellite and aerial data from EROS holdings. It allows browsing of images within USGS’ inventory. A download interface is provided for free datasets. Java required. GloVIS Next is currently being offered as an alternative.
Global digital elevation models (DEM) with a horizontal grid spacing of 30 arc seconds (approximately 1 kilometer).
Global and U.S. datasets such as terrain, land use land cover, shoreline data, and basemaps. The data is obtained from government agencies and made available directly for download. It also offers links to other mapping services and websites.
A comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women. The WomanStats Project collects data on all countries with a population greater than 200,000. The database includes information on laws, statistics, and practices within countries; the information available ranges from data on domestic violence to female landownership to political participation.
Global climate layers with 1-km2 resolution. Data is available for current, past, and future conditions in the forms of tiles or as grids.
Global geophysical and environmental data along with associated documentation, and visualization and analysis tools. Access to data for all scientists is free of charge or for the cost of reproduction. 
Created from WDC datasets and is hosted by NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).  The web application allows viewing, activating, adding, and reordering available data layers from the SEDAC catalog. It also offers a map gallery for about 320 world and regions (JPEG/ PDF) on themes such as climate, conservation, governance, hazards, health, population, poverty and sustainability.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Marine geophysics: tracklines, gravity, sediment, water column sonar; Marine geology: geosample data, crustal age grids, NOS seabed descriptions, and ocean drilling; Ocean depths & relief: coastal grids, create custom grids, DEMs, ETOPO1, global grids, fishing maps, Great Lakes, Hydrographic surveys, IHODCDB, multibeam bathymetry, paleobathmetry, shorelines, and tsunami inundation.

General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO)
Global bathymetric data, echo-sounding data; GEBCO Digital Atlas (GDA): global digital bathymetric contours, coastlines, trackline control data, and global one arc-minute bathymetric grid (GEBCO One Minute Grid).

Satellite Geodesy (UC San Diego)
Bathymetry and radar altimetry.

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)
Bathymetry and shorelines.


Global self-consistent, hierarchical, high-resolution geography database.

Shoreline Data Explorer (NOAA)  
Shoreline data of the U.S. and adjacent islands.

NOAA Shoreline Website
Global, national, and local scale shoreline data; Shoreline change analysis, nautical chart production, cartographic representation, and boundary determination.

NGDC 3 Arc-Second Coastal Relief Model
U.S. coastal zone with view of the seafloor.

Nautical Charts

NOAA Office of the Coast Survey
Local, regional, and global nautical charts and tools.

NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC)
Electronic navigational charts, digital hydrographic data, historical charts, and U.S. maritime zones. 

Over 600,000 astronaut photographs from 1961 through the present.  A clickable map, mission-roll-frame search, and technical search are provided to find photos.  Downloadable KML files for use in Google Earth are available.
Hosted by Arizona State University, offers interactive maps and downloadable data for Mars, in topics such as thermal infrared mosaics, shaded relief, and mineral maps among others. Shapefiles are not offered.
Interactive maps of Mars, the moon, Venus, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io. It also offers a downloadable GIS data of Jovian Sats, Mars, Mercury, Moon, and Venus.
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