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GIS Data for 11.S943 (Spring 2017): Home

Here you will find GIS data for Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for more GIS additions based on your class presentations

General resources

MIT Libraries GIS LAB

  • Staffed help hours in the GIS lab (Rotch Library, 3rd floor): M-Th: 1-4pm, F: 2-4pm
  • Email for questions or to set up a private appointment
  • Visit to check out all available GIS resources

Pennsylvannia resources


Geospatial Platform is an FGDC initiative that provides shared and trusted geospatial data, services, and applications. Search our massive catalog of geospatial data and tools provided by a multitude of federal agencies. Whether you are a Geographic Professional, Student, Teacher or Citizen, you can find data that will help you with your project, assignment, presentation or concern.

Visualization Examples

Map projections

Map projections and coordinate systems tell GIS software where to place data on a map.

  • For a shapefile, projection information is stored in the file that ends in .prj.
  • For an image (.jpg, etc.) that has been georeferenced, projection information is stored in the .jgw and .xml files. (Only ArcMap can read this type of projection information.)
  • For other raster data, projection information is saved in a .tfw and .xml file.

There are two types of map projections:

  1. Geographic: Use a 3D, spherical surface to define locations and units are in degrees.
  2. Projected: Use a flat, 2D surface and units are in meters, miles, etc. Area, length, direction, or angles will be distorted. When transforming data from geographic to projected, choose a map projection centered where your data are located to minimize distortion.


General Data Sources and Searches

Tips for finding data on the web:

  • Use “GIS”, “data”, or “map” as some of your search terms. Example: wind data gis, US census gis
  • If you are looking for data from a specific location, search for a town/county/state/country GIS organization and contact them.
  • Many cities have open data portals that contain GIS and other data. Example: Boston open data
  • When searching for foreign data, search in the language native to that country.
  • Look for universities near your area of interest and contact researchers. They may be willing to share their data!

Exporting data to other formats

Export to Adobe Illustrator:

ArcMap export options

1, File < Export Map

2. Select AI as the output format.

select ai format

Export to CAD:

ArcMap Export to CAD info

1. Open the Toolbox

2. Conversion Tools > To CAD > Export to CAD

3. Select files to export, file format, and the output location