For any GIS project (including the final lab in Cartography), finding data can be the biggest challenge of all. Given that the focus of this course is Cartography the map is more important than the data. Thus finding data isn’t something you want to spend a lot of time on, but if you can locate data of interest to you, relatively quickly, all the better. Here are some possibilities and ideas that might help.
In addition to the data we have been using all quarter (i.e., the GIS_data folders) there are various data folders on Huxley’s J:\GEO\GEO_data\ server.
If you still can’t find what you need, you can try searching the online Portal through ArcGIS Pro. In the simplest sense, you can just use the Add Data button, choose the All Portal or Living Atlas options (for the folder under Portal) and use the search box. In many cases a more general search (Europe rather than France, or Hydrology rather than rivers or lakes) may yield better results.
In addition to issues of availability (and the ability to find what you might need, even if it is available), streaming data from online can have numerous issues. Draw / refresh time can be slow, you may or may not be able to change the symbology, etc. Some online datasets can be download, providing you with a local copy of the data that overcomes many of these issues, but most cannot.
Note that a some of the Hillshade layers that can be displayed without any labels or feature overlays (i.e., just the hillshade, not a full basemap). These can be used for either web or static maps.
Using ArcGIS Online: Add / Search For Layers / <search for “World Hillshade” & add the ‘World Hillshade‘ by Esri>
Using ArcGIS Pro: Add Data / All Portal / <search for “World Hillshade” & add the ‘World Hillshade’ Tile Layer>.
Another option is to locate and download GIS data layers from some other source. Many governments (large and small) supply spatial data, usually in an ESRI-compatible format. The simplest datasets are just X-Y tables (of earthquakes, car accidents, potholes, etc.) that can be displayed as an X-Y data layer and converted to a geodatabase feature class. Line and polygon data often come in shapefiles, CAD files or .gpx (GPS Exchange) file formats, all of which can be used in ArcGIS Pro. Again, finding the data source (via Google and the like) can be a challenge. See the class spreadsheet listing sources of data that previous students have used for ideas (and maybe even actual sources).
GeoSeer is a Search Engine for Spatial Data, allowing you to search for downloadable spatial data sets by location, topic or data type.
Open Street Maps (OSM) is an open-source alternative to Google Maps, Bing Maps or Apple Maps. As a crowd-sourced product it often has more detailed data than some of the big commercial mapping vendors – especially for ‘non-commercial’ features such as hiking trails, bike routes, etc. If you are looking for base data (roads, hydrology, cities, etc.) for an area you might check out OSM and see if their data would be useful.
Because it is open source, OSM data can be downloaded in a GIS format. Here’s one way of doing that:
- Go to Open Street Map Data Extracts page: http://download.geofabrik.de/
- Click on the Region / Sub-Region you want data for
- If you want data for the entire region, you can download the .shp.zip file for that region)
- In many cases you can get even more detailed data (and/or a smaller file) by clicking on the Sub-Region to display further sub-regions. Again, choosing the .shp.zip folder for the geographic area of interest
- You probably don’t want the .pbf or .osc files…
- .shp.zip files can be opened and Extracted to a data folder
- Unzipped .shp files (and their related files) can be added to ArcGIS Pro (note that you cannot add data that is still in a .zip file to Pro – it must be Extracted to a folder first first)
- If desired, you can export the data from a shapefile to your project geodatabase… (or you can just use the shapefiles)
Here are some of the basic data layers available from OSM (depending upon the scale and location):
- buildings Polygon Building outlines
- landuse Polygon Forest, residential, industrial…
- natural Point Natural Features
- places_a Polygon Cities, towns, suburbs
- places Point Cities, towns, suburbs
- pofw_a Polygon Places of Worship
- pofw Point Places of Worship
- pois_a Polygon Points of Interest
- pois Point Points of Interest – government, hospitals, stores, tourist
- railways Line Railway, light rail, subway
- roads Line Roads and paths
- traffic_a Polygon Traffic related polygons
- traffic Point Traffic related points
- transport Point Transport related points (parking lots, gas stations…)
- water Polygon Lakes
- waterways Line Rivers, canals, streams…
See OpenStreetMap Data in Layered GIS Format for more information.
- Washington State GIS Data (WAGDA)
- Washington Geospatial Open Data (Geo.Wa.Gov)
- Washington Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR)
- Geology GIS Data
- Washington Dept. of Ecology(DOE)
- Washington Dept. of Transportation (WaDOT)
- Washington Dept. of Revenue
- Washington Dept. of Financial Management
- Washington Dept. of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
- Washington / Oregon Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
- USGS Data
- USGS Maps and Data
- FEMA GIS Data
- The Nature Conservancy (https://geospatial.tnc.org/pages/data)
- TNC Lands
- Terrestrial Ecoregions
- Marine Ecoregions of the World
- Freshwater Ecoregions of the World
- Site Wind Right (wind sighting priorities)
- Crisis Ecosystems
- Resilient Connected Networks (USA)
- Managed Areas
- Coral Reefs
- Important Areas to Reduce Mammal Extinction
- Global Human Modification
- Low Human Modification Within Crisis Ecosystems
- Great Lakes Protected, Restored and Enhanced Coastal Wetlands
- NGA Coastline MPA Calculations
- World Wildlife Fund (https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/conservation-science-data-and-tools)
- Marine Ecoregions
- Freshwater Ecoregions
- Terrestrial Ecoregions
- Global Lakes and Wetlands
- Conservation Landscape Data
- World Grasslands
(This is a simple spreadsheet of data sources with minimal metadata as to theme, URL, geographic location, etc. It’s not exactly comprehensive, and some of the links are probably out of date by now, but it might provide you with data sources or ideas of where to look: