This page contains a categorised list of links to over 300 sites providing freely available geographic datasets - all ready for loading into a Geographic Information System.

We have links to everything from arctic permafrost maps to gridded population data - simply scroll through the list, or use the dropdown menus above to jump to a specific section of interest. See the FAQ for more information on the what, who, how and why of the list.

Beware: The data linked to below may be inaccurate, incomplete, or just plain wrong. As always, critically examine the data you are using, look at what organisation produced it and what agenda they may have, and beware that there are disputes over some of the data (particularly country boundaries).

This list was last updated on 24 October 2014.

Physical Geography

General

Land and Ocean Boundaries

Elevation

Weather and Climate

Hydrology

Snow/Ice

Natural Disasters

Land Cover

(See also Land Use below)

Ecology

Mineral Resources/Oil and Gas



Human Geography

General

Administrative Boundaries

Environmental Boundaries

Land Use

(See also Land Cover above)

Lakes, Oceans and other Water Sources

Wars, Conflict and Crime

Population

Buildings, Roads and Points of Interest

Transport and Communications

Gazetteers (place/feature names)

Miscellaneous


Individual Country/Area Datasets

Afghanistan

Antarctica

Arctic

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Belize

Bolivia

Brazil

Canada

Central America

China

Denmark

East Timor

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Ireland

Italy

Japan

Kenya

Mexico

Namibia

Nepal

The Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Papa New Guinea

Philippines

Portugal

Puerto Rico

Romania

Russia

Slovenia

Spain

South Africa

Switzerland

United Kingdom (UK)

United Arab Emirates

United States of America (USA)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Who are you?

    I'm Robin Wilson, a PhD student at the University of Southampton. See my academic website for more information on my research.

  2. Why did you create this?

    I kept coming across GIS datasets online that looked like they might be useful - for my research, my friends research, or just for fun! I thought I'd keep a list of the ones that looked good - and then decided to put it online so that other people could benefit from it too. Fast-forward a few months and this is what you have: over three-hundred links, and hundreds of hits per day.

  3. Where did you find the datasets?

    A variety of places really. Some I knew about already, and some I had used in my research (or read about in the scientific literature). Others I came across online, particularly through GIS.SE and the GIS LinkedIn group. A number of items came from a wide-range of people who sent me links, asking me to add them to this site.

  4. What are the requirements for a dataset in this list?

    As you might guess from the title - I only list free GIS datasets here. That word is rather ambiguous (just ask Richard Stallman!), but here I use the meaning of 'free as in beer', and I include sites that provide data free for non-commercial purposes. Funnily enough, given the title, I don't link to datasets that cost money!

  5. Is there anything I can do to help?

    I'm glad you asked - of course there is! Three things really: you can tell your friends and colleagues about the site (see the Facebook and Twitter links on the top-right?), you can email me information about new datasets to link to (see below), and you can donate some money (see that button on the top-right?) to help me cover the costs of hosting this.

  6. How can I contact you?

    Email me at robin@rtwilson.com and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

    Please don't email me about commercial datasets (I'm not interested) or to ask me if I can get hold of data on a particular topic. Every dataset I know about is listed on this site!