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Geospatial Data Sources for MARPLOT

There are many sources of geospatial data available online, and many sites provide the data to users for free. The MARPLOT 5 series has been enhanced to allow users to more easily add data from other sources into the program in the form of object-based layers, online Web Mapping Service (WMS) layers, and raster images that can serve as basemaps or large background images.

Below is a list of some potential resources for obtaining free, national (U.S.) data to use in the MARPLOT 5 series. The MARPLOT developers are not endorsing these sites, nor are we guaranteeing the quality of the data provided.

Object-Based Layer Providers

  • EPA Sites Geospatial Download. To improve public health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency collects information about facilities or sites subject to environmental regulation. You can download files with geospatial information for all of the publically available facilities in the EPA's Facility Registry Service (FRS) that have latitude and longitude data. Choose any of the KML or KMZ format files.  You can download the entire National dataset of major facilities, or individual state files.  The national file contains over 129,000 facilities. So, when using this layer in MARPLOT, we recommend waiting to show the layer until you are zoomed in to a specific area. Additionally, if you are not interested in the full national dataset, you can run a search in MARPLOT for objects in your area of interest and then export just those objects. Then you can re-import those objects into MARPLOT on a new layer, and then delete the national dataset layer. Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • TIGER Shapefile Downloads. The TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) products include about 30 shapefile sets, such as congressional districts, landmarks, roads, railroads, rivers, and school districts. (The four U.S. Boundaries layers included in MARPLOT are provided from this source.) Some sets are available for the entire United States, while others are available by state/territory. The datasets are provided in a zipped format with a .zip extension, and you can import the file in the MARPLOT 5 series without unzipping it first.  Provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • National Map Small-Scale Data Downloads. A collection of nearly 200 small-scale datasets for the United States that were originally developed for the National Atlas project, 1997-2014. (The National Atlas was retired in 2014, and it has been replaced by the National Map project.) This collection includes datasets divided into categories: Land Cover, Governmental Units/Boundaries, Elevation, Geographic Names/Map Reference, Transportation, and Water. Within each category, the datasets marked as shapefiles can be downloaded for use in the MARPLOT 5 series, and the new MARPLOT 5.1 version can now also import files in the geodatabase format. The datasets are provided in a zipped format with a tar.gz extension. To import those files into MARPLOT, you will need to unzip the files first, so that you can access the .shp, .shx, and .dbf files inside for shapefile sets (or the files inside the .gdb folder for the geodatabase files). Provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Web Mapping Service (WMS) Providers

  • National Map WMSs. A list of  web services that are part of the National Map Viewer provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. Click on a heading to expand that particular collection of services. If the service is available as a WMS, there will be a WMS link that you can click on to see an .xml file with information about the WMS. Use the URL from the Online Resource line in the .xml file when you're adding the WMS in the MARPLOT 5 series. Note that the list of services also includes links to legends for each WMS.

Raster Map File Providers

  • Geospatial Data Gateway. To obtain raster map files, click on the "Order by County/Counties" link on the right side of the home page. Then choose your state and counties of interest. Next, choose the raster map file that you want to download, such as the files in the Ortho Imagery category. Click on the info icon to see if the file is provided in a file type that the MARPLOT 5 series allows. Finally, choose FTP as the delivery option in order to download the files at no cost. You will need to fill out a form with contact information in order to proceed with the download. Provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • National Map Small-Scale Data Downloads. This collection of nearly 200 small-scale datasets developed for the National Atlas project (1997-2014), also includes files in the GeoTiff format that can be added as raster maps in the MARPLOT 5 series. The GeoTiff files are provided in a zipped format with a tar.gz extension. You will need to download and then unzip the files, before you can add them as raster maps in MARPLOT. Provided by U.S. Geological Survey.