gis data in the uw libraries and beyond
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GIS Data in the UW Libraries and Beyond. Spring 2007 [email protected] Overview. Libraries Services Data collections How to find data Washington State sources Regional sources State statistical sources (briefly) Census sources Federal sources

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Presentation Transcript
  • Libraries Services
  • Data collections
  • How to find data
    • Washington State sources
    • Regional sources
    • State statistical sources (briefly)
    • Census sources
    • Federal sources
    • And how to find it if you don’t see it…
  • Metadata
libraries services
Libraries Services
  • GIS Service Policy:
    • "The Libraries provides UW students, faculty and staff with access to geographic information systems (GIS) software and data owned by the Libraries…When requesting data, please leave a 48-hour turnaround (work days only) to receive data... (con’t)
libraries services4
Libraries Services
  • (con’t) “Library staff are available to meet one-on-one with UW students, staff and faculty, and to assist in retrieving data. Please contact GIS staff via email at [email protected]
  • Provide access to GIS and desktop mapping software
  • Identify, acquire and provide access to digital geospatial and statistical data
  • Help patrons determine their data needs and assist with locating data
  • Help patrons incorporate data into projects
library staff work with
Library staff work with
  • Students, staff, faculty
  • From any campus department
    • Geography, Urban Planning, Geology, Forest Resources, Public Health, English, History, and others
  • Public
software equipment
Software & Equipment
  • UW Libraries GIS Lab – G004 Suzzallo Library
  • ArcGIS 9.X (ArcView, Arc/Info, older versions), others
  • Encarta, MapPoint, Streets & Trips, etc.
  • 20 Machines can be used for data consultation and time for basic manipulation before taking data away
  • Access to color printers, plotters
  • Collection focuses on Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington State
  • Also collections for the United States, international data, individual countries
  • Data is listed in catalog
  • Ask if you can’t find it. It might be on order, or be able to be ordered.
gis data
GIS Data
  • Types of GIS data
    • Social and economic data - Census data, demographics, government information (local, state and federal)
    • Physical-environmental data - geology, hydrology, etc.
    • Can include streets, parcel data, rivers, lakes and drainage, soils, geology, air quality information, median household income, etc.
data formats
Data formats
  • Vector (points, lines, polygons) e.g., bus stops, streets, parcels
  • Raster (cells) e.g., digital elevation models
  • Image, e.g., digital aerial photography, digital raster graphics
  • Statistical, e.g., .dbf files, Excel, Access, .csv, .txt, e.g., assessor’s files
data producers
Data producers
  • Local governments
    • Examples: City of Seattle, King, Pierce, Thurston, Snohomish counties
  • Federal government
    • USGS, USFS, US Census
  • WA State
    • DNR, DOT, Ecology
  • Various regional and other organizations, e.g., Puget Sound Regional Council
data restrictions
Data Restrictions
  • Some is restricted by license agreement to UW students, staff and faculty only
  • Full use for academic & research purposes
  • Permissions needed for publishing (includes the Web)
  • Much is public domain (anything from US government, for example)
  • Can be used for any purpose
  • No matter the purpose, make sure your citations are correct:
    • Cartographic Citations: A Style Guide, by Suzanne M. Clark, Mary Lynette Larsgaard, Cynthia M. Teague. On the Maps Reference Shelf at GA 108.7 .C55 1992
finding gis data
Finding GIS data
  • Introduction to:
    • Finding data in UW catalog
    • Other UW data sites
    • Washington State sources
    • State statistical sources (briefly)
    • Regional Sources
    • Census sources
    • Federal Sources
    • And how to find it if you don’t see it listed…
acquiring data
Acquiring data
  • Download
  • Purchase
  • Data sharing
  • Regardless, be aware of:
    • Licensing and restrictions
    • Public domain vs. private
washington state sources
Washington State sources
  • UW Libraries Catalog,
  • Keywords
    • Name of the area you’re interested in, plus “computer file” and “maps”
    • e.g.: seattle and computer file and maps
    • Much public domain data is available through UW, via interlibrary loan or direct download
washington state resources
Washington State resources
    • Washington State Geospatial Data Archive. Data available for downloading, includes Washington DEMs, Washington geology, Seattle, King County, etc.
    • Primarily Arc/Info, ArcView formats
washington state resources21
Washington State resources
  • Washington State Geospatial Clearinghouse,
    • Like a library catalog
    • Links to WA-created metadata, some downloadable data
    • Connects to international (searchable) network of metadata nodes
  • Other state clearinghouses
    • Eg, Alaska ( and Georgia (
washington state resources22
Washington State resources
  • Subject-tree guide to subjects in library

  • Map Collection homepage
  • Data contacts page for Washington State
washington state sources23
Washington State sources
  • GIS Data Depot,
  • Terraserver, (photos can now be used in GIS, instructions:
washington state sources24
Washington State sources
  • Department of Transportation,
  • Office of Financial Management,
  • Ecology,
  • Health,
  • WA GAP,
washington state sources25
Washington State sources
  • To purchase:
    • WA Department of Natural Resources
    • USGS:
    • Contact various counties directly (some sell data, some give it away free, some seek data swaps)
state statistical data
State statistical data
  • Good first source for many topics:
  • Various US government sites, for example
  • Government Publications (Libraries)
  • CSSCR, Center for Social Science Computation and Research,
regional data sources
Regional Data Sources
  • Examples of water/fish-related information:
    • Interior Columbia Ecosystem Management Project,
    • Streamnet,
    • Fish Passage Center,
census gis data on the web
Census GIS data on the web
  • Population data

  • Housing data

  • Census geography data in general

  • TIGER/Line data in particular

federal sources
Federal Sources
  • Different agencies with different foci:
    • FCC,
    • BIA,
    • USF&W,
  • Branches within agencies. (USGS, EPA):
    • USGS global land characterization,

US EPA data management and analysis

federal sources30
Federal Sources
  • Specific, individual reports, such as USGS Open File Reports,
  • National Soil Survey Center (USDA),
  • NEPAnet, National Environmental Policy Act

  • National Map Seamless Data Distribution System

finding gis data on the web
Finding GIS data on the web
  • Directories and search engines:
    • (directory)
    • (search engine)
      • (also,,, and many others)
search engines
Search engines
  • Keywords: name of the area you’re interested in, plus terms like:
    • GIS, Shapefile, Coverage, .e00, Download, Data
  • Example: washington state and gis
  • Example:
    • Salmon and gis and washington state
    • Salmon and gis and pacific northwest
    • Salmon and gis
local gis groups
Local GIS groups
  • Central Puget Sound GIS User Group, [email protected] List as well as monthly meetings.
  • The Northwest GIS User Group (formerly ESRI-NW), yearly conference
international gis groups
International GIS groups
  • ESRI-L, ArcView-L
    • Invaluable for technical assistance and data questions (some support requires paid access). See
    • Many other lists available, some software-specific, others discipline-specific. See for lists and searchable archives.
other sources
Other sources
  • Commercial vendors (ESRI, of course)
  • Ask local GIS users and other colleagues
  • Research groups, nonprofits, other colleges/universities
  • Libraries, academic and otherwise
  • Arcview-l
  • ESRI-l
  • MapInfo-l
  • GIS in public health
  • Many, many more. See the list of lists at, with searchable archives and subscription information for each
  • Organizations
    • /
    • (search Your Speciality, conference proceedings)
    • ESRI-NW, Pacific Salmon Information Network, etc.
    • Other vendors,
    • Other associations’ conference proceedings
after downloading
After downloading…
  • Unzipping (
  • Importing, changing format
    • Check your software’s translation capabilities
  • Attaching attribute information
  • Remember to use your software’s help files!
  • Some more help:
  • Metadata is “data about the data”
  • Shows lineage, data quality, methods, modifications, etc.
  • Helps determine “fitness for use”
  • It’s imperative to get this for every data set you download!
  • Clearinghouse & USGS DEM Example
needs assessment
Needs Assessment
  • Lists a few points to consider before you start looking for data
  • Write these down and take a document to the map librarian – easier for them to understand what you want, when you have a good idea of what you want
  • Ask for help: [email protected]
other gis help on campus
Other GIS help on campus