Open GIS Data
Available in a variety of styles, open GIS data is worthwhile exploring before taking the plunge with expensive alternatives.
Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. All versions of Natural Earth raster + vector map data found on their website are in the public domain.
Extracts of the Planet OpenStreetMap package. Various geographic extents and plenty of formats, including shapefiles, osm, adobe illustrator and more.
Global Administrative Areas
GADM is a spatial database of the location of the world’s administrative areas (or administrative boundaries) for use in GIS and similar software. Administrative areas in this database are countries and lower level subdivisions such as provinces, departments, bibhag, bundeslander, daerah istimewa, fivondronana, krong, landsvæðun, opština, sous-préfectures, counties, and thana.
US Census Bureau - TIGER/Line Database
Extracts from the Census Bureau’s MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. Does not include demographic information but does include geographic id markers that can be linked to US Census data.
National Weather Service - GIS Shapefile Database
Data includes weather, hydrological, city and urban, state/province and other libraries. This is a shapefile clearinghouse, one of the many sites that you will encounter that contain large amounts of un-manicured GIS data. The data often come from many sources, therefore we cannot be certain that all data will be of the same quality.
City of Toronto - Open Data
The City of Toronto makes data it collects available to the public via toronto.ca/open. By offering data sets for others to use, the City supports unfiltered access to its information. Applications created using City data provide potential benefits for everyone. The goal over time is to offer all data allowable by law through toronto.ca/open.
Government of Canada - Open Data Pilot Project
The Open Data Pilot is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to open government, which is being pursued along three streams: open data, open information and open dialogue, and aims to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians.
The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eight million placenames that are available for download free of charge. Data incudes placenames as well as postal codes.
GeoBase data are governed by the GeoBase Unrestricted Use Licence Agreement. With this licence, users are granted a non-exclusive, fully paid, royalty-free right and licence to exercise all intellectual property rights in the data. This includes the right to use, incorporate, sublicense (with further right of sublicensing), modify, improve, further develop, and distribute the data; and to manufacture and/or distribute Derivative Products.
GeoGratis is a portal provided by the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) which provides geospatial data at no cost and without restrictions via http or ftp requests.