Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Geospatial Data: Home

This guide describes how to find and use the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory's spatial data, as well as data that is available freely online.

Introduction

Use this guide to help identify and use spatial data in the library's collections or on the web.  Pages include how-to sheets on common GIS tasks, pointers for frequently requested data, and ...

 

Table of Contents:

Don't see what you need?  Contact the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory directly:

(805) 893-8946
collaboratory@library.ucsb.edu

What is GIS data?

In order to use GIS software, you have to have GIS data. This guide shows you the different GIS file formats and types and provides you with a number of online sources for accessing data.

Data Formats and Manipulation


Vector: discrete coordinates and surfaces represented as points, lines, or polygons (areas). File formats: shapefiles, coverages, KMLs

Vector file of California

Raster: continuous surface divided into grid cells of equal size. File formats: Geotiff, tiff, JPG, MrSID

Tables: data tables that contain records for places that can be converted by plotting coordinates or joining identifiers to a vector file. File formats: delimited text files, spreadsheets (xls), data tables

Table

Geodatabase: collection of vectors, rasters, and tables in a database file. File formats (desktop): Access mdbs, SQLite

Please note:  GIS files are often distributed in compressed file formats--in other words, inside of containers holding several data files. Common formats you may encounter include ZIP, 7z, and TAR.  E00 is an ESRI file format used to exchange coverages.  Windows and Macintosh operating systems can handle many of these formats.  There are plenty of free tools available to handle most other cases.

Library Award for Undergraduate Research

Enter your research for a chance to win $750!

The annual UCSB Library Award for Undergraduate Research (LAUR) recognizes students who produce a scholarly or creative work that makes expert and sophisticated use of the collections, resources, and services of the UCSB Library.

LAUR logo

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Jon Jablonski
Contact:
UCSB Library
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

jonjab@ucsb.edu
preferred pronouns: he/him/his
Contact: Twitter Page

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Regents of the University of California, All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Library (805) 893-2478 • Music Library (805) 893-2641 • UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
Contact UsPolicies