Associate Professor
Department of Community
and Regional Planning

Phone: 515.294.8979
Office: 583 College of Design

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GIS Links

Iowa Databases

Iowa Cooperative Soil Survey are available through the ISU GIS Facility. Data, including in-depth attribute tables, are available for all 99 counties.

The Iowa Department of Transportation
provides data on aviation locations, political boundaries, rail lines, georeferenced highway and transportation maps, Linear referencing system points, and GIMS road centerlines, structures and rail crossings.

The Iowa Department of Transportation also provides city and county maps of roads, pipelines, airports, hydrology, bridges, and boundaries, among other items.

The Iowa Geospatial Data Clearinghouse
contains data for download on the ISU campus as well as links to other data sources. The datasets vary widely, including things such as administrative and political boundaries, geologic and geophysical data, and utility networks. Council clearinghouse contains data for download on the ISU campus as well as links to other data sources.

Natural Resource GIS Library of the Iowa DNR and contains more than 20,000 geographically referenced databases available by county or by theme. Data available for free include: political boundaries, agriculture, basins, biology and ecology, culture and demographics, elevation, environmental regulation, geography, geology, hydrology, infrastructure, land description, recreation, and watersheds.

The Polk County Auditor provides downloadable GIS data for Polk County, Iowa. Data are grouped into four primary categories: general, political, cadastral, and other. The data is updated quarterly, so it is a reliable source for most purposes.

Iowa State University Database

The Iowa Geographic Map Server allows users to search for aerial photographs dating back to the 1930s, topographic maps, hillshade maps, and land cover maps. This website includes aerials and maps for the entire state and allows zoom levels ranging from 900 meters to 0.5 meters. Home Page.

Other GIS Data Downloads

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) - Hosted by Earth Institutue, Columbia University. This website contains downloadable data free of charge. Datasets cover such things as Central American vegetation, world population, and natural disaster hotspots.

FAO GeoNetwork (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) provides Internet access to interactive maps, satellite imagery and related spatial databases maintained by FAO and its partners. Such as, administrative and political boundaries, agriculture and livestock, applied ecology, climate, fisheries and aquaculture, hydrology and water resources, land cover, and land use, soils and soil resources, and base maps, remote sensing and topography. The purpose is to improve access to and the integrated use of spatial data and information.

FEMA Map Service Center is the official government distribution center for digital flood hazard mapping products. In order to help communities, the public, and other FEMA stakeholders manage and reduce flood risk, FEMA provides a suite of user-friendly tools that support the needs of the public in viewing, analyzing, and printing flood hazard maps.

The Florida Geographic Data Library
is a tool for distributing GIS data in Florida. This website, maintained by the University of Florida's GeoPlan Center, contains in excess of 350 GIS layers available to download for free. The datasets include land use, hydrology, soils, transportation, boundaries, environmental quality, conservation, census, and others.

The National Map Viewer and Download Platform, use The National Map Viewer and Download Platform to visualize, inspect, and download our most current topographic base map data and products for free. Managed by the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP), The National Map Viewer provides access to all eight primary data themes of The National Map to include US Topo and historical topographic map products (The National Map web site).

Natural Earth is a free public domain map dataset available at 1:10 m, 1:50 m, and 1:110 million scales, raster and vector data.

Socioeconomic and Data Applications Center (SEDAC) - Hosted by CIESIN at Columbia University. SEDAC, the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, is one of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) in the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. SEDAC focuses on human interactions in the environment. Its mission is to develop and operate applications that support the integration of socioeconomic and Earth science data and to serve as an "Information Gateway" between the Earth and social sciences (SEDAC web site).

The U.S. Census Bureau Maps and Cartographic Resources provide various maps to download. By selecting Boundary Files, users may download congressional districts, consolidated cities, school districts, tribal data, voting districts, and census block groups, divisions, regions, and tracts, along with many other datasets.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Geospaital Data Gateway is a source for environmental and natural resources data by county/counties, state, place or bounding rectangle.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory is the most accurate and up to date digital data provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Program was established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in 1974 to conduct a nationwide inventory of U.S. wetlands to provide its biologists and others with information on the distribution of wetlands to aid in wetland conservation efforts.

USGS EarthExplorer many different kinds of remotely sensed data such as Landsat images and derived products such as national land cover data.

USGS Global Visualization Viewer this platform provides some of the same data as EarthExplorer, but has a much better method for browsing imagery.

USGS Water Resources NSDI Node
supplies spatial data sets regarding water resources throughout the United States. The datasets include vulnerability of shallow ground water and drinking-water wells, fertilizer sales, stream flows, and deposits, among hundreds of other datasets.

GIS Related Links

Directions Magazine is a leader in news and resources for geospatial professionals. The website provides GIS news, articles, maps, data, tools, and job postings. Newsletters regarding GIS, CAD, and other topics are published weekly.

ESRI provides a valuable guide to GIS, presents basic principles of GIS, and showcases how GIS impacts daily life. Useful tools, a user's manual, guides, and other resources for getting started with GIS are available. covers GIS applications in government, utilities, environment, and the private sector. It contains valuable information and resources for GIS users.

Iowa State University Geographic Information Systems: Support and Research Facility The GIS Support and Research Facility is a public computing facility established to support the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology at Iowa State University. The mission of the facility is to provide a high level GIS research support laboratory for students, faculty and staff as well as to provided GIS education and outreach to the ISU community and the state of Iowa.

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Department of Community and Regional Planning, College of Design, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3091

Monica A. Haddad