Where can one download Geospatial Data from?

Geospatial is a term that has been trending for a while now and one that has caught the eye of many with the recent events and trends on space exploration, climate change and digital journalism just to mention a some as this list can be endless. In my own context, this term can be split into two sub-terms;

  • Geo – Relating to earth or ‘has Earth component’.
  • Spatial – Relating to space or ‘has space component’.

For one to analyze data with relation to location then one must get data that has location component and this location has a ‘geo’ and ‘spatial’ component therefore termed geospatial data. There are a gazillion sources of data at a time that we are struggling with handling of big data of all sorts, location-based data being one of them.

I compiled a list of freely available data sources at this time which includes the following:

  • OpenStreetMap This contains crowdsourced and compiled data of regions and the whole world that is updated at various intervals, some daily, weekly, hourly etc. The data consists of way-points, points of interest (POIs), roads and road names and buildings. It also provides an application programming interface (API) through which one can query and download data using other software. For country and other extracts, check here and for the whole world check here.
  • Natural Earth This is a data repository for vector and raster data that is published at different scales and it is supported by North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).
  • UNEP Environmental Data Exlporer Data source repository provided by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) that consist of geospatial datasets related to global and local weather, watershed boundaries, average monthly temperatures etc. To obtain data, one must search either using keywords or the provided filters for searching specific datasets.
  • Copernicus Open Access Hub This access hub provides free access to Sentinel satellite datasets and is managed by the European Commission. One must register and sign in to download data from this repository. The type of datasets to expect from this hub include data related to marine environment, forest cover, wetlands, atmospheric data on solar radiation and pollution among others.
  • USGS Earth Explorer Provides access to earth science data from various satellites such as Landsat through an interactive user interface and is managed by U.S Geological Survey.

There are many geospatial data repositories nowadays and the above list consist of just a small number of them. For more details on geospatial data sources, refer here and here.

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