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Geospatial Datasets: local, regional, and global scales


Local and Regional (North Carolina) Data Resources

Many county and city governments allow data downloads from their websites. For the most current local data links, go to the Counties or Cities pages. Many public download sites for statewide datasets are listed on the webpages found linked under the Libraries Geodata Collection.



NC OneMap - Provides comprehensive discovery and access to North Carolina's geospatial data resources.

State Data Center – Demographics and other tabular data – can be mapped by county or other geographies in the tables.

North Carolina County Government GIS Inventory – downloadable PDF with links to all of North Carolina’s county GIS portals

Center for Geographic Information and Analysis – portal for statewide information on services and data provided by a multitude of organizations


Mapping Services

Topographic Map Indexes – 1:24,000, 1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scale index maps from the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources.

Department of Transportation – Listing of GIS and Mapping resources offered by NCDOT, including the Official County Boundary file.

NC Geodetic Survey – Numerous GIS and GPS resources and tools, including Geodetic Monuments

NC LIDAR Data download – Includes QL2 (2 points/meter) circa 2010's and legacy data circa early 2000's. Sign up for an NCID to log in if you don't already have one.


Environmental Quality

Department of Environmental Quality – Open Data website that aggregates data from multiple departments. Home Page | Online GIS | Data Portal

Air Quality Permits – GIS files and databases provided by the NC DEQ

Animal Feeding Operations


Water Resources

Water Quality Monitoring Data (including STORET)

Water Resources Information, Storage, Anlysis & Retrieval System (WRISARS) – collaborative information portal on river basins between NCDWR, NC Climate Office, US Army Corps, and USGS

NC Groundwater database

NC DEQ Water Resources Data, Statistics and Maps – Maps and data downloads pertainng to water quality - GIS DATA

NC DEQ Water Resources – Water Science Section – Data from numerous monitoring and assessment programs


Flooding and Storm Water Control

Floodplain Mapping Program – Flood Risk Information System

NC Flood Risk Information System – Interactive map making and download service for flood data

Stormwater Permitting: Map | Data


Waste Management

NPDES Wastewater Permitting and Compliance Program – Data is under the "Permit Info" tab

Waste Management – Maps and data downloads


Coastal Resources and Management

Coastal GIS Data – Data resource portal provided by NCSU with data from NOAA, universities, and more

Coastal Management – Maps and data downloads

NC Coastal Atlas – Multi–partner mapping and data for NC Coastal Plain and Outer Banks data


Vegetation and Wildlife Resources

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Survey

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) – Maps and data downloads

Albemarle–Pamlico National Estuary Partnerships – Maps and data downloads


Health, Social, and Cultural

North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics

NC Natural Heritage Program – Interactive maps and data downloads for cultural and natural resources


U.S. Geospatial Data Sources

ArcGIS.com  – Data downloads, WMS links, and/or access via ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS layer files 

Esri Maps and Data Group – As well as other groups "owned by Esri" are highly recommended for their various basemap layers. Predominantly US–based data, but also some from international sources

Geoplatform.gov – Comprehensive source for data from federal executive branch agencies in multiple formats

USGS National Map – Download site for multiple data layers, including topography, hydrography, transportation, geographic names, boundaries, land cover, and more. The Small–Scale collection is good for contextual (overview) or large extent maps as most of the data were compiled at a scale of 1:2,000,000

USGS Links to Maps and Other Products – Links to many sources of Aerial Photographs & Satellite Imagery, Digital Maps & Data, Publications, Software, etc.USGS EarthExplorer – Imagery, DEMs, Landcover, and other satellite and derivative data

The National Geologic Map Databse - distributed archive of standardized geoscience information for the USA

USDA Geospatial Data Gateway – Natural resources and environmental data, including soils, climate, and many other features

USGS Water Resources – Downloadable spatial data files for exploration and analysis of water resources

US Fish and Wildlife Services – Geospatial Services from the USFWS

US Census Bureau Maps and Data – Links to online resources, including TIGER data, from the Census Bureau

NOAA National Weather Service – National Weather Service data sets available in downloadable shapefiles, web services and KML files

FEMA GeoPortal – Geospatial data and analysis that informs emergency management

GIS Inventory – An inventory of GIS data and directory of GIS people nationwide, maintained by the National States Geographic Information Council

Land Boundary Information System – maps, images and boundary data files for Florida

Global Geospatial Data Sources

Trimble Data Marketplace – interactive map for discovering datasets provided by Trimble

Open Street Map – Comprehensive crowdsourced data. Several online services provide shapefiles, CAD files, and other formats of OSM data for download

World Database on Protected Areas – source for worldwide designations and data on protected areas

GRID Arendal – news, media and publications from around the globe on environmental issues

Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (FEOW) – data and resources for ecoregions across the globe

Major River Basins of the World – polygon and polyline shapefiles for river basins across the globe

ISRIC World Soil Information – world wide data related to soil dynamics and geology

Climate Change Knowledge Portal – Data hub for information concerned with climate change across the globe

10 Free GIS Data Sources – global raster and vector datasets

Global Surface Water Explorer – European Commission for mapping the extent and change of water surfaces across the globe

ISRIC World Soil Information – open source global gridded soil information

European Commission Global Human Settlement – datasets on global human settlement created by the European Commission GHSL in both raster and vector data

Thematic Exploitation Platform – collaborative Earth Observation network site for remotely sensed datasets on coastal regions, forestry, geohazards, hydrology and more

ESA Climate Change Initiative – news, information, tools and data provided by the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative Data Portal

IPUMS Terra – collection of population data, land cover/land use images, weather/climate data, and surveys across the globe integrated into a single source

Ecological Marine Unit Explorer – interactive map for exploring temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and more profiles of waters across the globe by longitude and latitude

DIVA–GIS – free to download vector and raster data on infrastructure, topography, land cover, population and more available for countries around the globe

University of Maryland Global Forest Change – interactive map showing a time series analysis of Landsat images tracking forest change

NASA WorldView – interactively browse global satellite imagery from NASA with layers including air quality, drought, fires, floods, storms, vegetation, atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, land surface, oceans and more.  Search for downloadable files here NASA Earth DATA

GEOSS International Geospatial Data and Services Portal – Maintained by the European Space Agency

UN Food and Agriculture Organization GeoNetwork – Search for spatial databases, digital maps, satellite images and related statistics covering areas worldwide, produced by UN organizations

Global Change Master Directory – Directory of many earth science data sources and services available worldwide

Natural Resources Canada – free data downloads provided by GeoGratis

Ordnance Survey UK – free digital maps of Great Britain

University of Michigan China Data Center – Univ. of Michigan center that provides variety of data resources on China, including GIS

Natural Earth – raster and vector data at varying scales


Imagery and Remote Sensing Sources

Planet Labs – historical satellite imagery available with a qualified research account (free to apply).  Offers extremely high return time with high resolution Red, Green, Blue, NIR multispectral imagery

Open Topography – high resolution topography data (Primarily the United States) and tools

CADMapper – compiles data from public sources into CAD files. Alternatively, you can generate shapefiles using OSM XML files with OSM Shaper

Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center – processed imagery provided by NASA and USGS focused on Earth processes viewed with remotely sensed images

USGS GloVis – grants access to multiple remote sensing platforms with historical and current images available to search and download.  Includes Landsat, ASTER, Earth Observatory and more

Earth Observatory – offers historical and current global scale satellite data on aerosols, carbon monoxide, chlorophyll, clouds, fire, etc.

USGS Land Remote Sensing Program – remote sensing portal for data and products provided by the USGS. Imagery available under the DATA tab

MODIS Imagery – data portal for MODIS satellite imagery products

USGS EarthExplorer – interactive map to explore and download data from a wide array of satellite remote sensing imagery platforms (Landsat, DEM, Radar, UAS, Aerial Imagery and many more)

Global Landcover Facility – data portal provided by University of Maryland to download satellite imagery including specialty products

USGS EROS Aerial Imagery – Aerial imagery provided through the USGS EROS EarthExplorer

European Space Imaging – search and order imagery provided by the European Space Imaging

DigitalGlobe – search and order imagery from multiple platforms


Software and Tools

14 Open Source Remote Sensing Software – list of free to download software

Data Visualization Tools – 430 data visualization tools for programs such as R, Matlab, Google, Python etc

US FWS National Wetlands Inventory Wetlands Mapper – interactive tool to create maps based on the data provided by the US FWS National Wetlands Inventory

USGS Data and Tools – downloadable data and software tools for common GIS programs

BBBike.org – extract map data in numerous file formats that can be used to create custom maps


Education, Tutorials, and More

Remote Sensing Core Collection – University of Minnesota remote sensing lessons and example projects

Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth – search and explore images taken from the International Space Station

NSSDCA Photo Gallery of Earth– historical images of the Earth taken the Apollo, Clementine and Galileo space missions

Virtually Hawaii – Remote sensing informational guides and tutorials utilizing Hawaii as a case study

NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Radar Science and Engineering – informational site on the science and technology behind radar imaging

NASA Visible Earth – collection of NASA images and animations of the planet and regions of the globe

WWW Virtual Library Earth Science – informational website with articles on cartography, oceanography and urban environmental management

Tutorial: Fundamentals of Remote Sensing – extensive catalog of information on remote sensing platforms, science, technology and application provided by Natural Resources Canada.  Glossary of Terms