Data Resources

Impossible to list them all, and some will have redundant data, but here are some starters:


  • ArcGIS Online  – 
    • “the foremost collection of geographic information from around the globe”.  Data from the Living Atlas can be loaded directly into ArcGIS and other software applications.  Obtain a Brown Organizational Account to use all the functionality of ArcGIS Online.
  • Geolode –
    • “a collaborative catalog of open geodata websites around the world” – this site has a wide variety of data that is filterable by place, topic, and tag
  • Openstreetmap –
    • crowd sourced GIS data from all over the world
  • World Resources Institute –
    • curated datasets for many different topics pulled from other sites and clearinghouses
    • searchable by keyword, topic, etc.
  • The Humanitarian Data Exchange –
    • “The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) is an open platform for sharing data across crises and organizations. Launched in July 2014, the goal of HDX is to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis.”
    • using the data link at the top of the page takes you to where, on the left, you can employ filters for geospatial data, file formats, etc.
  • Geoseer –
    • This site is a clearinghouse for spatial datasets offered via OGC web-services – i.e. primarily cloud based data rather than data you download (although depending on the type of service (WMS, WFS, WCS, WMTS) you may have download capability as well)

Global Administrative Boundaries

Climate Data

  • WorldClim – Global Climate Data –
    • a set of gridded climate data with a spatial resolution of about 1 km2
    • variables include: minimum temperature, maximum temperature, average temperature, precipitation, solar radiation, wind speed, and water vapor pressure
  • CHIRPS – Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station –
    • a 35+ year quasi-global rainfall data set

Global Elevation

  • Shaded Relief Archive –
    • “an archive of scanned manual shaded relief for use by digital mapmakers. Much of the relief art found here is georeferenced and customized to fit modern drainage vectors. All shaded relief data are free and useable for commercial and other purposes.”
  • Shuttle Radar Topography Mission
    • There are several places where one can obtain SRTM tiles

Global Land Cover

Remote Sensing Imagery

  • Landsat 8 Scenes –
    • A clean, easy to use interface for downloading Landsat 8 scenes
  • Aster, Landsat 8 and prior, Sentinal 2, SRTM,  and other sources –
    • Glovis is the Global Visualization Viewer – a tool for accessing publicly available remote sensing data.
  • Planet –
    • Daily imagery of the entire world from many sources.


United States

  • Smart Location Database –
    • a nationwide geographic data resource for measuring location efficiency. It includes more than 90 attributes summarizing characteristics such as housing density, diversity of land use, neighborhood design, destination accessibility, transit service, employment, and demographics. Most attributes are available for every census block group in the United States.