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  • ESRI —

  • ESRI designs and develops the world's leading geographic information system (GIS) technology. Data from ESRI is available as Online Services, data cd’s, downloadable free data, and premium data packages. ESRI also provides training, technical support, and professional services.

  • The GeoCommunity —

  • The GeoCommunity™ is a site for GIS, CAD, and mapping professionals and students to find news, articles, jobs, and events. The GeoCommunity also hosts the GIS Data Depot where you can download or purchase data at both state and county levels including DEM’s, DRG’s, and DOQQ’s.

  • California Resources Agency's Geospatial Information Office —

  • The mission of the California Geospatial Information Office is to lead and coordinate the development, licensing and sharing of geospatial data by state government agencies. California data is available for searching through the Data Catalog and for download through the GIS Library.

  • GIS Lounge —

  • GIS Lounge is a GIS information portal. The purpose of this site is to provide introductory text for issues relating to GIS as well as pointers to further information. This site is a hodge-podge of resources including GIS events, jobs, documents and articles, as well as a collection of data links.


  • Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. —

  • The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. ® (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.

  • University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) —
  • GIS Dictionary —

  • This dictionary includes terms from GIS operations such as analysis, data management, and geocomputation; from rapidly evolving uses of GIS for modeling, GIScience, and Web-based GIS; and from the GIS foundation fields of cartography, spatial statistics, and computer science.

  • A GIS Code of Ethics —

  • "This Code of Ethics is intended to provide guidelines for GIS (geographic information system) professionals. It should help professionals make appropriate and ethical choices. It should provide a basis for evaluating their work from an ethical point of view. By heeding this code, GIS professionals will help to preserve and enhance public trust in the discipline."

  • The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) —

  • The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is a way of subdividing and describing land in the United States. Originally proposed by Thomas Jefferson, the PLSS began shortly after the Revolutionary War, when the Federal government became responsible for large areas west of the thirteen original colonies. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This site explains the history and irregularities of the PLSS as well as the numbering system.

  • USGS Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) Program —

  • Acquiring DRG’s, as well as DOQQ’s, first requires an understanding of the naming conventions. This site provides technical information of how the tiles are named (LAT/LONG OF SECONDARY CELL - Expressed in degrees of latitude (2 characters) and degrees of longitude (3 characters), defining the southeast corner (integer grid corner), of the secondary cell.).

  • Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It: Project Management Excellence —

  • Posted on The GeoCommunity site, this “paper presents the top 4 factors that have a direct bearing on the success or failure of a GIS project, and the strategy for substantially achieving project management excellence.”

  • Data Management and Production — Data Management and Production.pdf


  • The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) —

  • The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is an US interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. This nationwide data publishing effort is known as the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The FGDC develops geospatial data standards and metadata standards.

  • ISO Geographic information/Geomatics —

  • ISO/TC 211 is a standard technical committee formed within ISO (International Standards Organization), tasked with covering the areas of digital geographic information and geomatics. It is responsible for preparation of a series of International Standards and Technical Specifications. These standards may specify methods, tools and services for data management (including definition and description), acquiring, processing, analyzing, accessing, presenting and transferring such data in digital/electronic form between different users, systems and locations.

  • FGDC Required Metadata Elements — FGDC Required Metadata Elements.pdf

  • A list of the 19 required metadata elements to be FGDC metadata compliant.

  • The Redlands Institute Manual for Creating Metadata in ArcCatalog — Metadata in ArcCatalog.pdf

  • Starting with the ESRI ArcCatalog help files, The Redlands Institute created this user manual for creating and editing metadata. Included is a screen shot of every tab with an example of expected entry content.

  • Ten Most Common Metadata Errors —

  • A list of the 10 most common metadata errors produced by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).

  • ISO 19115 Topic Categories — ISO Topic Category.pdf

  • To be ISO (International Standards Organization) compliant at this time, using ArcCatalog, add ISO keyword and cite ISO 19115 Topic Category as Theme Keyword Thesaurus. Also use appropriate Content Type (Distribution tab, Resource Description).


  • ESRI ArcGIS Online —

  • ArcGIS Online Services are integrated with ArcGIS and gives the user immediate access to cartographically designed, seamless basemaps to which the user can easily add his/her own data. There are standard and premium services, 2D maps & 3D globes, which can be accessed over the web.

  • The GISDataDepot —

  • The GeoCommunity hosts the GIS Data Depot where you can download or purchase data at both state and county levels including DEM’s, DRG’s, and DOQQ’s.

  • Geospatial One-Stop —

  •, also known as the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS), serves as a public gateway for improving access to geospatial information and data under the Geospatial One-Stop E-Government initiative. The portal is a catalog of geospatial information containing thousands of metadata records and links to live maps, features, and catalog services, downloadable data sets, images, clearinghouses, map files, and more.

  • GeoCommons Finder —

  • The GeoCommons Finder site is a user generated GIS data community site containing an enormous variety of data sets. Data is available as shapefiles, spreadsheets, and KML.

  • EPA’s National Geospatial Program —

  • The EPA’s National Geospatial Program makes data available both through program specific databases as well as by EPA region.

  • EPA’s Envirofacts —

  • The EPA’s Envirofacts site has data available on subjects related to air and water quality, toxins and waste products, and permit compliance.

  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management - California —

  • The BLM maintains and makes available its GIS data by individual state. Most states post land use and land management data, designated boundary files, some recreation data sets, and many others depending upon the state site. They also have a public FTP site ( for data download.

  • U.S. Census Bureau —

  • The U.S. Census TIGER/Line®Shapefiles are spatial extracts from the Census Bureau's MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. The files do not include demographic data, but they contain geographic entity codes that can be linked to the Census Bureau’s demographic data, available on American FactFinder.

  • Cal-Atlas —

  • The Cal-Atlas site facilitates the coordinated effort by California government agencies, partners and stakeholders to make available public data. This site also features the California Environmental Information Clearinghouse Catalog, a collection of California maps, and the opportunity to contribute data to the site.

  • Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) —

  • The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) coordinates the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) research programs and provides access to data by mode (of transportation) and by subject. Subjects include safety, infrastructure, energy, national safety, and economic data.

  • National Park Geospatial Data —

  • On the National Park Service’s Data and Information Clearinghouse you can search for data by category or NPS unit. There is also an Interactive Map Center for viewing park boundaries and related information, and an assortment of other GIS resources.

  • Gap Analysis Program —

  • The USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure Gap Analysis Program provides data and maps related to landcover, stewardship or predicted species distribution data. Data is available at the regional and state level.

  • National Atlas of the United States® —

  • This index lists all of the map layers currently contained in™, by broad subject categories that correspond to the chapters of the National Atlas. Data categories include Agriculture, Environment, People, Biology, Geology, Transportation, Boundaries, History, Water, Climate, and Map Reference. Most data is available as shapefiles.

  • National Elevation Dataset (NED) —

  • The USGS National Elevation Dataset has been developed by merging the highest-resolution, best quality elevation data available across the United States into a seamless raster format. Data is selected and downloaded from a map selection rectangle, map template, or map coordinates.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service GIS Home Page —

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service GIS Home Page provides data referenced at various scales ranging from 1:12,000 to 1:500,000. The data is organized by state with source, theme, spatial coverage, scale, metadata and data link information available for each item.

  • National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) —

  • The National Hydrography Dataset is a comprehensive set of digital spatial data that contains information about surface water features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, springs and wells. Data is available through an interactive viewer to select subbasin units or pre-staged subregion units.

  • The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI) —

  • The USGS Land Cover Institute posts links to a huge amount of land cover/land use sites, for the US and around the globe. Each data link is nicely documented as to content, scale, and cost.

  • Digital Line Graphs (DLGs) —

  • The Digital Line Graphs (DLGs) are essentially the lines you see on the USGS topographic maps. The digital data is available at both 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 scales.

  • Digital Orthoimagery—

  • The purpose of the National Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science (EROS) Othoimagery website is to provide instant access to The National Map Orthoimagery. The Orthoimagery category is one of the framework layers for The National Map. Imagery can be used as a base layer for updating or deriving additional geographic information, such as transportation networks, hydrographic features, elevation, and land cover. The orthoimagery featured in the website includes High Resolution Orthoimagery, Landsat 7 Mosaics, and seamless Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangles (DOQQ).

  • Landsat 5 (1990) & Landsat 7 (2000)—

  • The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The GeoCover 30m Landsat image mosaics are delivered both as uncompressed color imagery in GeoTIFF format and as compressed color imagery in MrSIDTM file format. The data are delivered as 24-bit color uncompressed GeoTIFF files and as 24-bit color MrSID compressed files.

  • SPOT Satellite Imagery —

  • SPOT Satellite Imagery is available, for a fee, as low as 2.5m resolution.

    The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)— The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) is a center within the Earth Institute at Columbia University. CIESIN works at the intersection of the social, natural, and information sciences, and specializes in on-line data and information management, spatial data integration and training, and interdisciplinary research related to human interactions in the environment.

    Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) —
    The Metropolitan Planning Organization for six counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial. Data available inclides: Aviation Regional Data Statistics, Census Data, Economic Data, Emergency Information Network, Goods Movement Knowledge Base, Housing & Transportation Affordability Index, Integrated Growth Forecast, Research, Analysis and Papers, Regional Transportation Monitoring & Information System (RTMIS).


  • ColorBrewer —

  • ColorBrewer is an online tool designed to help people select good color schemes for maps and other graphics. The ColorBrwer tool allows you to select from 3 to 5 classes (class breaks in the data) and choose between sequential, diverging, or qualitative data types. It then displays various color ramps with icons indicating the suitability for copying, projectors, or color blindness.

  • ESRI Mapping Center —

  • The ESRI Mapping Center is about the use of ArcGIS in the graphic delivery of geographic information. Its goal is to help make great looking maps by using the same cartographic concepts and techniques that professional cartographers use. Specialized ESRI style and marker symbols are available for download as well as several tools. An ‘Ask a Cartographer’ feature provides solutions to your particular mapping challenges.

    ArcGIS Map Templates Resource Center —
    The ArcGIS Map Templates Resource Center contains resources for using ArcGIS to make great maps for the Web, for print, and for mobile applications. These map templates are useful examples of professional-grade maps.

  • TypeBrewer: A Map Design Help Tool for Selecting Typography —

  • TypeBrewer is a free help tool that gives mapmakers a chance to explore typography in a semi-structured environment. TypeBrewer offers a quick and easy way to explore typographic alternatives and see the impact that various elements of type have on the overall look and feel of a map.

  • USGS Topographic Map Symbols —

  • This site displays and explains the various symbols on the standard USGS topographic maps.

  • Manual of Traffic Signs —

  • This site offers a collection of traffic, highway, recreation, and other public signs for download in .gif format.

  • Shaded Relief: Ideas and Techniques about Relief Presentation on Maps —

  • An excellent resource on shaded relief techniques from Tom Patterson, US National Parks Service. A cleaned version of the GTOPO30 is available as well as many shaded refilef maps in jpg format.

  • The Relief Shading website —

  • Shaded relief is a method for representing topography on maps in a natural, aesthetic, and intuitive manner. On this website you will find rules and guidelines for the design and production of shaded relief, an overview of its history, examples produced by professional relief artists, technical tips, and much more.

  • CartoTalk: A Public Forum for Cartography and Design —

  • This public forum for cartography and design provides a set of data links, cartography tutorials, and business opportunities.


  • ESRI ArcGIS Resource Center —
    Customize ArcGIS with sample scripts and tools written in VBA.
  • Hawths Tools —
    Hawth's Tools is a FREE extension for ArcGIS (ArcMap) that performs a number of spatial analyses and functions that cannot be conveniently accomplished with out-of-the-box ArcGIS. Most of the tools are written with ecological analyses in mind, though many will be useful to any GIS user.
  • XTools Pro — extension for ArcGIS
    Originally developed as a set of useful vector spatial analysis, shape conversion and table management tools for ArcView GIS 3.x. XTools extension was then converted by Data East to ESRI ArcGIS environment and now is re-designed, enhanced and extended as XTools Pro to get to the newer level of functionality and performance. Examples of some of the tools are: Convert Features to Centroids, Convert Features to Equidistant Points (Fixed Number), Convex Hull, and Import Data from KML.
  • ET GeoTools —
    ET GeoTools is a set of tools for ArcGIS which purpose is to increase the editing productivity in ArcMap, give enhanced editing functionality to the ArcView users and enable them to create and maintain topologically correct datasets.
  • U.S. National Grid Tools for ArcGIS —
    U.S. National Grid Tools for ArcGIS is a free add-on to ArcGIS Desktop that allows you to plot a national grid on a map, locate coordinates on a map and zoom in to that area of interest, and view multiple coordinate systems such as the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) and the National Grid. U.S. National Grid Tools for ArcGIS Desktop supports the need of disaster relief organizations and search and rescue agencies for a coordinate system that can be standardized across multiple agencies.
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