Category Archives: GIS Resources

10 Free GIS Data Sources: Best Global Raster and Vector Datasets

From GIS

10 Free GIS Data Sources: Best Global Raster and Vector Datasets – GIS Geography

Where can I find free GIS data?

In a perfect world, you’d be able to find all the free GIS data you need in a single website. Of course, it would have to be free, downloadable from an authoritative source.

…But well, you know the drill. The world’s not perfect, life’s not fair.

So that’s why we’ve put together this list to turbo-charge your search for free GIS data. We provide a list of 10 free, downloadable global GIS datasets from highly reputable sources.

You might be interested in these useful resources for GIS data:


Amazing Maps: Plastic in Oceans, US Electricity Usage, Chromium-6 in Water

From Geospatial for eNews-Links of the Week:

Plastic in our oceans:

US Electricity Usage:

Carcinogen Chromium-6 in Drinking Water:

AAG Offers Suite of New Resources for Students and Job Seekers

AAG Offers Suite of New Resources for Students and Job Seekers
Students looking for information about undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as currently available graduate assistantships, internships, and postdoc positions in geography now have a suite of resources available from the AAG.

AAG Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas – Our popular guide to undergraduate and graduate programs in all areas of geography has been enhanced with a new interactive map. Easy-to-use search tools allow students to explore and discover geography programs by degree type, region, and program specialization.

AAG Student and Postdoc Opportunities Website – This site features a variety of graduate assistantships, internships, and postdoctoral researcher positions in the discipline. Academic departments may post their student and postdoc opportunities on the site at no charge.

AAG Jobs in Geography Center – Job seekers can begin their search on this site, which offers the latest geography-related job openings in the academic, public, private, and nonprofit sectors, along with a wide array of practical resources that can assist students with career planning and the job hunt.

For more information, contact Mark Revell at

ESRI Mapts NOAA’s National Water Model

From Informed Infrastructure
Todd Danielson on August 25, 2016 – in Featured, Water

New Real-Time Maps Transform Forecast Data into Vivid Pictures of U.S. River Flows 

REDLANDS, Calif.—August 25, 2016Smart-mapping leader Esri today released  a beautiful, robust new collection of Web maps that forecast NOAA stream-flow data throughout the continental U.S.

Esri’s multiscale visualization of the National Water Model enables forecast water flows in real time at high resolution. The maps weave together NOAA’s recently released water model data and Esri ArcGIS functionality to provide interactive views of current and future water-system behaviors.

Esri maps the flow of water along 2.7 million stream segments in the U.S. river network. These data-rich maps improve NOAA’s ability to meet the needs of emergency responders, reservoir operators, ecosystem professionals, and floodplain managers by providing detailed information that can anticipate flood and drought conditions. National Weather Service data populates the interactive maps with hourly updates and forecasts up to 10 days.

“In collaboration with our academic partners, the Esri team supported the development process leading up to the launch of the National Water Model,” said Edward Clark, director of geointelligence at NOAA. “We share a common vision for the value that high-resolution water prediction brings to the nation.”

Esri’s new maps enable users to access large amounts of complex data quickly and easily.  Although 10-day, mid-range forecasts contain more than 200 million records and short-term forecasts require hourly data refresh, Esri maps automatically integrate and synthesize NOAA data so that users have the real-time information they need at the click of a button.

“These attractive, accessible maps are part of our commitment to improve water awareness—a commitment we made at the White House Water Summit earlier this year,” said Esri President Jack Dangermond. “ArcGIS provides a visually engaging way to communicate complex scientific information simply so that anyone can understand it.”

Esri plans to continue its investment in water prediction and analysis by releasing an open-source toolkit later this year that will enable ArcGIS users to analyze data and create custom maps from water model records.

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at

Copyright © 2016 Esri. All rights reserved. Esri, the Esri globe logo, and @Esri are trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of Esri in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products or services mentioned herein may be trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of their respective mark owners.


USGS: Volcano Hazards Program

30 Years of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

There are approximately 1,550 potentially active volcanoes around the world. 2016 marks the 30th year that the Volcano Disaster Assistance program (VDAP) has worked to reduce loss of life and property, limit economic impact and prevent volcanic crises from becoming disasters. The USGS and U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) established VDAP in 1986 in response to the tragic eruption of Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Colombia, which killed more than 23,000 people from volcanic mudflows. Since then, VDAP scientific teams have deployed in response to 30 major crises, assisted counterparts with hundreds of additional volcanic events, and strengthened response capacity in 12 countries since the program began.

To recognize the milestone, the USGS is highlighting some of the major responses, showing how the program has helped save countless lives. Read the USGS Top Story to learn how VDAP works to support international scientists and agencies at the invitation of a host country.

Cartography Resources

Cynthia Brewer’s site

In case you aren’t familiar here is the description from her personal web page –

ColorBrewer is a web tool for selecting map color schemes. It was reprogrammed by Andy Woodruff at Axis Maps.   Links to another project apparently started in 2008 called Scale Master see here which has a host of other links and presentations but #19 is the Excel file titled “ScaleMaster for Proposed Design for Multiscale Topographic Mapping from USGS National Map Data, Cynthia Brewer and Chelsea Hanchett, Penn State Geography, July 2010”

Blurb from site:

ScaleMaster is a structured diagram for organizing multiscale mapping using multiple databases and design, selection, and generalization decisions.

In its rudimentary form, ScaleMaster is a do-it-yourself Excel file available for download (19. below). Other resources were listed and linked as we continued to develop the idea.

The ScaleMaster project was a collaboration among Cindy Brewer, Barbara Buttenfield, Larry Stanislawski, Lynn Usery, and Charlie Frye.

The research work was funded from 2008 to 2013 by the USGS Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS) through Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) grants through geography departments at the Pennsylvania State University and University of Colorado at Boulder.

ScaleMaster research was initially funded by Esri through Professional Services Agreements 2003B6345, 2003B6346, 2003B6347 and 2006B2964.

Additional papers and talks by Buttenfield on her website.

Additional papers by Stanislawski and others on CEGIS Generalization site.
All papers and presentations by the Penn State researchers are linked below.

See new developments with ScaleMaster from Guillaume Touya and Jean-Francois Girres, COGIT lab, IGN France (e.g., sourceforge; ICC2013 paper; CaGIS paper).   The ScaleMaster approach is now popular with national mapping agencies.

The Atlas of Ocean Wealth

Please check out the Mapping Portal!

Atlas of Ocean Wealth

The Atlas of Ocean Wealth is the largest collection to date of information about the economic, social and cultural values of coastal and marine habitats from all over the world. It is a synthesis of innovative science, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with many partners around the world. Through these efforts, we’ve gathered vast new datasets from both traditional and less likely sources.

The work includes more than 35 novel and critically important maps that show how nature’s value to people varies widely from place to place. They also illustrate nature’s potential. These maps show that we can accurately quantify the value of marine resources. Further, by enumerating such values, we can encourage their protection or enhancement for the benefit of people all around the world. In summary, it clearly articulates not just that we need nature, but how much we need it, and where.