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GIS software

To use GIS data, you will need GIS software. The following are a few among many options. (Inclusion in this list does not constitute an endorsement.)

  • ArcGIS Explorer: desktop and mobile map-viewing apps (Esri)
  • ArcGIS Online: cloud-based, software-as-a-service mapping platform (Esri: free and fee-based accounts available)
  • Free and open source geographic information systems
GIS data tips
  • GIS data file compression
    • Files that you download from our FTP site (Portal) and our Open Data site will be zipped (compressed) and have a .zip file extension.
    • We have zipped our Portal files with the open source software utility 7-Zip. This also applies to the thematic group zip files found on our Open Data site under “Download>Additional Resources.” Other utilities that can extract zipped files will work in most cases, but some of our data files might extract only with 7-Zip.
  • Geodatabase
    • A database or file structure used to store, query, and manipulate spatial data.
    • Geodatabases store geometry, a spatial reference system, attributes, and behavioral rules for data.
    • Geodatabases can be stored in relational database management systems, or in a system of files.
  • Shapefile
    • An open-specification data format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features.
    • Shapefiles can be used with a variety of software programs.
  • KMZ
    • A compressed KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file—an open specification xml notation format for expressing geographic annotation and visualization information.
    • Can be used with several desktop and internet-based GIS browsers.
  • CSV (Open Data site only)
    • A comma-delimited text file format.
    • Unlike shapefiles, KMZ files, and geodatabase layers, CSV files do not contain information that describes spatial geometry, i.e., lines or polygons.
    • May include point locations specified by addresses or geographic coordinates.
    • Compatible with with other software programs, such as spreadsheet software.
Other King County data sources