Other GIS data resources and tips
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.)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.