One of the first questions you typically ask yourself when you want to start thinking about using geospatial data is, where to find it? Below, you can find my five recommendations on how to find data. The problem with the methods outlined in these recommendations is that they do assume that you have some knowledge of spatial data formats and the subjects that you are searching for data on. I experience that people often perform a data search as one of the first things in a new project. In this case, I would recommend using a topic-based search using, for instance, EU Inspire themes.
Alternatively, you can look at my limited but growing sample of topic-centric introductions to relevant geospatial data. The concept of these pages is to be an introduction to the topic and not only the data, so you will find links to background literature and ways of analysing the data.
If you are new to using spatial data, you might find it difficult to choose between the different delivery methods and data formats. You can read the article on Common formats and Access Methods for GeoSpatial data. Once you have got access to the data, you often need to perform some basic management operations on the data in order to make it fit your needs. You can read the article on Managing GeoSpatial data here
Five recommendations on how to find data.
- Do a Google search for it by combining the topic you are interested in with words such as GIS data or map data.
- Go to a national or international data and map portal and search for what you are interested in. You can find a list of some key data and map portals here. These sites commonly support both a classical text search and also maintain topic-based searches. There are two common topic nomenclatures used for geospatial data
- Search on the website of an NGO or governmental organisation that deals with the topic of interest.
- Many universities maintain some form of catalogue of commonly used data. (Visit RUC data catalogue)
- Try a list of geodata linked such as Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_GIS_data_sources or GISgeoagraphy https://gisgeography.com/best-free-gis-data-sources-raster-vector/