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Geographic Information Systems
GIS, which stands for Geographic Information System, is a way of presenting data spatially with maps and charts so that it can be better understood and analyzed. There are literally thousands of uses for GIS data, including analyzing traffic patterns, displaying changes in population over time, developing zoning boundaries, planning delivery routes, and so on.
Data for use with GIS can be found from a variety of sources on the Internet, from businesses, governmental agencies, non-profit foundations, and educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. Presented below are some of the sources that IUPUI University Library staff have found particularly useful. Also included are links to sites providing maps on-line and other geographic resources. This resource guide is under continuous construction.
Basic GIS Information
Web site maintained by ESRI to explain the basics of GIS. A great place to look when you are first getting started with GIS usage.
- Making GIS Work for You
"Quick start" guide prepared by IUPUI's Digital Libraries Team for using ESRI's free ArcExplorer software.
- ESRI Geographic and Mapping Software
Home page of Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), the company that developed ArcExplorer, ArcView, ArcInfo, and a number of other GIS packages. Site contains links to maps and data, technical support, training resources, a gallery of maps, and more. Also useful are the ESRI links to free software, data, and resources which can expand the capabilities of ArcView and other packages. Any ArcView user should bookmark this site!
General Data Resources
- GIS Data Depot
Part of GeoCommunity, GIS Data Depot is the largest repository of free geo-spacial data on the web.
- Geography Network
"The Geography Network is a global network of geographic information users and providers. It provides the infrastructure needed to facilitate the sharing of geographic information between data providers, service providers, and users around the world." (Geography Network home page). A great, searchable (makes use of metadata descriptors) resource for GIS data and maps from a huge number of different providers, corporate, government, and other organizations.
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Part of the US Department of the Interior, the USGS is the federal government organization charged with providing maps and data for a variety of purposes. Contains all sorts of mapping and data resources.
- Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System
TIGER, part of the US Census Bureau provides a huge variety of data about counties in the United States. Topographic and demographic data can be displayed on the web site, or by downloading an extension from ESRI, processed, displayed, and used in ArcView. Much of the data is geocoded, for address searching and other functions. Also useful is the US Gazetteer.
- Geography Network - Census TIGER 2000 Data
ESRI's Geography Network provides TIGER/Line data (physical geography and geocoded streetmapping data) for the 2000 Census. While this data is available from the U.S. Bureau of the Census' TIGER website, ESRI's data is already converted into shape files and after unzipping is ready to be used in ArcView or ArcExplorer. This saves time in downloading the TIGER extension for ArcView and for converting TIGER data to shape files. Great if you are in a hurry!
- Electronic Atlas of Central Indiana (EACI)
Supported by the IUPUI University Library and funded by a grant from the Indianapolis Foundation, EACI provides spacially-referenced data for the 9-county Indianapolis MSA. In addition to downloadable GIS data, EACI also provides online data maps and PDF versions of pre-made ArcView maps for the counties and datasets covered.
- Indiana Geological Survey
Home page of the Indiana Geological Survey. Provides a variety of map, data, and GIS resources, along with lots of other great products and services.
- Indiana Spatial Data Store
Indiana University Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs's portal for geographic data, hosted and maintained by University Information and Technology Services (UITS) at IUB. Provides access to Indiana, as well as federal data.
- Northwest Indiana GIS Forum (NIGF)
Website maintained by the organization made up of GIS professionals from the Calumet region. Provides access to data and GIS dictionaries, maps, and other resources.
- SAVI (Social Assets and Vulnerabilities Indicators) Interactive
Coordinated and maintained by The POLIS Center at IUPUI, SAVI provides detailed spatial data and maps for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Marion County and its eight contiguous counties: Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hancock, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan and Hendricks. SAVI Interactive provides Web presentation of some of its data, and more is available in the form of shape files and tables for use with ArcView.
- Indiana Department of Transportation - General Information
Part of the Access Indiana project, this site provides access to lots of Indiana maps relating to transportation.
- Historic Maps of Indiana
Maintained by the Geography and Map Library at Indiana University Bloomington, this site contains bibliographic resources about historic maps, as well as a wealth of information about digitized and print historic map resources.
- Healthy Communities Environmental Mapping
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides HUD E-Maps, a free Internet service that combines information and maps on HUD’s community development and housing programs with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) environmental data. Great source for detailed maps of the entire United States.
- ArcData Online Map Browser
This ESRI site allows the user to create maps of all sorts of data, down to the county level in the U.S. and country level worldwide.
- American Fact Finder
Provided by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, this site provides reference maps of boundaries along with "quick thematic maps" of most places in the United States.
- National Atlas of the United States
This site, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, provides access to interactive maps (which require plug-in software) as well as allows a user to build thematic maps with the National Atlas Map Browser.
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
This collection of on-line maps and mapping resources, which belongs to the University of Texas at Austin General Libraries, is one of the finest in existence. If you need a map of just about anywhere in the world, check here!
- The David Rumsey Collection
On-line collection of 18th and 19th century maps, globes, and other cartographic materials pertaining to North and South America.
- CIA World Factbook
Produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the World Factbook is an excellent source of geographic information and maps.
- National Geographic Map Machine
A great source of maps based on the National Geographic Atlas of the World. Allows some customization of the maps (you can add icons or text) and allows you to search for a particular area. Great source of maps for printing for reports.
Map site that focuses on satellite imagery. Contains satellite photos from several sources and of locations throughout the world. Even contains aerial views of secret military sites like Area 51!
On-line, searchable access to USGS quadrangle maps.
Geography and Geology Departments with GIS Programs
- Geographic Information Science - Department of Geography
Link to the page for the IUPUI Dept. of Geography's GIS program.
- Graphix Lab
Home page for the IUPUI Graphix Lab, a joint venture between the IUPUI Department of Geology and the Center for Earth & Environmental Science. Provides access to information, support, and data for GIS and other visualization resources. Also provides links to current and ongoing projects.
- Geography Department - Indiana University Bloomington
Link to the IUB Geography Department, with information about their programs, staff, and other useful links.
- Ball State University Department of Geography
Link to Ball State University's Department of Geography home page. Contains information about the department, students, curriculum, and available programs.
- ESRI Training
Part of the ESRI web site, this page links to a schedule of instructor-led classes, an ESRI authorized training locator, and ESRI's Virtual Campus, which provides over 100 hours of free GIS training.
- Professional Training Solutions Program
The POLIS Center, part of IUPUI's School of Liberal Arts, offers training in a number of GIS-related topics.
Street Mapping Resources
Street mapping site that will map cities as well as provide driving directions between specified addresses.
Mapping and driving directions are provided on this site, along with clearly printed maps.
Send Comments and Questions to: Bill Orme, GIS contact.
Last updated by andjsmit on 06/17/2009