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Geography: GIS Resources and Open Data

Explore library resources related to geography.
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Federal / US GIS Data

Sources for public open data sets and maps provided by the US Federal Government or national sources: 

What is GIS? 

GIS is commonly used to describe both Geographic Information Systems and Geographic Information Science. Each term carries a unique meaning. For this guide, we will use 'GIS' to mean Geographic Information Systems.

Geographic Information Systems are the computer hardware and software that enable users to manage, visualize, and analyze spatial data through the power of maps. It has become an essential tool in the geographer's tool kit for understanding spatial relationships about places and features on the Earth’s surface. 

Geographic Information Science is the academic field, typically a subfield of geography, that establishes the theoretical basis for, conducts research on, and utilizes GIS. There are two types of GIScience:

  • Research about GIS that leads to improvements in the technology

  • Research that uses GIS as a technology tool for the advancement of science


GIS Resources

Park University Library
8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 61 - Parkville, MO - 64152
Phone: (816) 584-6285
Toll-free: (800) 270-4347