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Sanborn fire insurance maps are valuable historical tools for social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of Iowa cities, towns, and neighborhoods. They are large-scale plans containing data that can be used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.
Extensive source of federal, state and local geographic data for the United States.
Complete coverage of Iowa in aerial orthophotos, land use/land cover maps, DEMs, historical data.
High-quality, geospatial data from the USGS. Mostly US data, some international data. Transportation, boundary files, hydrography, orthoimagery, land cover, elevation. Interactive map server and downloadable data.
U.S. biology, geology, demography, environmental, water and much more. Interactive map server and downloadable data.
Searchable catalog of data, including shapefiles and other geographic data, available from the U.S. federal government.
The National Historical Geographic Information System. Provides "aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2000." Free registration required.
Statistics and aggregate data from the U.S. Decennial Census, American Community Survey, Puerto Rico Community Survey, Annual Population Estimates, Economic Census, and Annual Economic Surveys. Data for geographic areas, sometimes down to the block level, can be downloaded in CSV or XLS formats.
ESRI's data clearinghouse and map services; contains mostly base data; you can also link to this data directly through ArcCatalog.
Free, downloadable Canadian GIS data.
Spatial data in a variety of formats from OpenStreetMap.
Database of high-resolution historical maps, some of which are georeferenced.
Search and download satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and other products from the USGS. Primarily raster layers.
Links to lots of different spatial data sources; follow links to global, international, national, state, and local-level data sources.
Interactive map server to locate spatial data sources; follow links to global, international, national, state, and local-level data sources. Good for Great Britain and includes international links.
A directory from Cornell University library.
From Stanford University. Links to other GIS data sources.
Download shapefiles for every country in the world. Available layers include administrative boundaries, inland water, roads, railroads, elevation, land cover, population, and climate. Georeferencing gazetteers are also available.
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) maintains and provides access to the world's largest archive of raw data sets in the social sciences. Before downloading data, you will be prompted to create a MyData account. You must be on campus to create this account. As long as you log in to your MyData account from an on-campus computer at least every 6 months, you will also be able to download data while you are off campus.
Geographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau. Includes the TIGER files.
Maintained by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Much data is available at the state and county level. Data is in spreadsheets, not GIS layers.
Pre-processed, searchable, and mappable demographic data.
Many more sources for geospatial data about the United States can be found here.
Estimates of global population and other socioeconomic variables at a fine spatial scale.
Unique maps of socioeconomic variables at global scale.
Georeferenced data on international aid projects, with a focus on projects funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Over 25,000 data sets on the environment and Earth science, curated by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
1893-present. Historical weather data for several dozen Iowa locations.
Downloadable environmental spatial data for Iowa.
Maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Includes bathymetry and other marine data, natural hazards, and geomagnetic data.
From the National Resources Conservation Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural and environmental data for the U.S.
GIS layers for climate data, with a resolution of one square kilometer.
A global database of agricultural land-use information. Created by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. Data can be mapped online or downloaded for use in desktop GIS programs.
Excellent source for data and GIS layers on global development issues.
Land cover, predicted distribution for common vertibrate species, and land ownership/stewardship information for the entire United States.
Data on the geographic distribution of amphibians and reptiles.
Data on the global geographic distribution of mammals.
Data on the geographic distribution of over 100,000 ocean-dwelling species.
High-resolution historical maps of Iowa. Maps can be downloaded.
An outstanding collection of historical and contemporary maps held by the University of Texas at Austin Perry-Castaneda Library
Thematic maps of health care indicators in the U.S.
Tools to enhance Google Earth.
Formerly Environmental Justice Geographic Assessment Tool; for research on local toxic sites.
From the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.
Quick access to aerial photographs and topographic maps from Microsoft Research Maps and the USGS.
Similar to NHGIS, with mappable but not downloadable data.
Interactive display of quantitative data.
= Restricted resource
Social Studies and Data Services Librarian
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Find books, music, or videos in the Grinnell College Libraries.
Revised: Sep 10th 2013
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