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GIS Resources: Home

Top Recommended Data Resources

These sources are good places to start looking for freely available GIS data online.


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Related Research Guides


Welcome to the GIS Resource Guide! This guide will provide you with several resources to find GIS data, software, materials, and more information. Have questions? Ask-a-Librarian for help! 

What is GIS?  

"A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions." - esri

GIS has interdisciplinary applications, and can be used in (among other areas):

  • Natural Resources
  • Government, Transportation, Utilities
  • Business & Commerce
  • Education & Research

For more information on GIS and its uses, visit:


How do I know what data to search for? 
To determine which types of data to search for, use this assessment from the University of Washington Libraries: GIS Data Needs Assessment


University Subscribed

For information about downloading ArcGIS, see the Information Technology Software page

Containing news about ArcGIS, GIS technology developments, and real-life applications of GIS. 

MapInfo can be found on the computers in the Fogler Library Information Commons or in select department's computer labs. 

GlobalMapper can be found in select department's computer labs. 

Open Source

DIVA-GIS is a free geographic information system (GIS) program. Available for PC and Mac. 

Forestry GIS (fGIS™)
Forestry GIS is an open-access GIS program for windows, designed for the non-GIS specialist. 

FRAGSTATS is a computer software program designed to compute a wide variety of landscape metrics for categorical map patterns.

Geospatial Modeling Environment
GME is an open-source platform designed to help to facilitate rigorous spatial analysis and modeling.

MapWindow is a free and open source desktop geographic information system (GIS). 

QGIS is a free and open source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under Creative Commons. Available on Windows, MacOS X, Linux, and Android.

Government Publications & Maps in Fogler

Fogler Library Government Publications Depository is located on the first floor of the library adjacent to the Information Commons and the Collaborative Media Lab.  It is a regional depository for U.S. Government publications. We are a selective depository for Canadian, and we have United Nations documents. 

Fogler Library has approximately 85,000 sheet and folded maps, 3,000 atlases of various kinds, and an estimated 200,000 maps enclosed within publications.

Government Publications and Maps can be discovered via the URSUS Catalog.

URSUS Catalog Search

Materials in Fogler

Librarian, Head of Reference & Information Literacy

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Nancy Lewis
1st floor, Reference & Information Literacy Department
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