You’ve got your data, but what happens when you need to visualize it against something else, like regional employment data, or solar PV capacity by region?
There’s a plethora of freely available GIS data out there – some good, some bad – so here’s 3 repositories well worthy of a coveted spot on your bookmarks bar.
From the makers of DIVA GIS, a clear, simple data portal. Type in your desired country, choose your subject, click download. It’s really that simple. Get your fill at http://diva-gis.org/Data.
2. Robin Wilson’s Free GIS Data
Robin Wilson’s ultimate list of lists. Neatly categorised into physical, human, and country specific data, Robin’s list is a veritable orchard of juicy data for your Mango maps. Find it at http://freegisdata.rtwilson.com.
3. The Stanford Geospatial Center
The Stanford Geospatial Center’s comprehensive list of data sources, arranged by region. http://library.stanford.edu/research/stanford-geospatial-center/data
Now, we don’t want to go overboard and clutter a map with unnecessary layers. Excess data that will slow the map load time, or take focus away from your data – and your user’s answers – so only add datasets if it amplifies your data, and informs your map users.
The standard disclaimers apply to all of the above – we have no way of knowing if the data linked to by these websites is inaccurate, incomplete, or completely wrong. Please examine carefully any data sources you find. Map data is powerful, and like any data, may come with its creator’s bias or agenda. A simple difference like country boundaries in the Tibetan plateau might cause offence, depending on who is viewing your maps.