Data Sets

A geographic information system (GIS) can be a powerful tool to help us visualize and analyze our world. GIS can also be used to present information. GIS information is organized into data sets. These can be in a variety of formats and not all GIS programs or devices will accept all formats.

An overview of the different file types (and an explanation of what they are used for) is available here.

Below is a collection of select resources that provide GIS data sets. Most data is available for download. Click the webpage name to go to the site.

> CIA World Factbook

This gigantic site provides individual country data as well as regional maps and country comparison data – for every country on the planet! Data displayed on the Country Comparisons can be downloaded as a tab-delimited data file.

> GeoCommunity

Here’s a fine resource for downloading country datasets. Data comes in .E00 format, and needs to be converted to work in ArcGIS.

> NationMaster

Here is a great site for statistical data for individual countries. You can compare countries, and view data as graphs or maps. It also has a good education section, designed for teachers.