Next, we will take a quick look at some interesting datasets that can be found online. Many of these datasets can be used as base maps in projects focusing on something else or as the basis for research in their own right.
Below are some fairly generic sources that will get you started if you weren't already sure where to go, but I'm sure many of you already have your own favorites that you may want to share; so post a comment in the Lesson 9 Datasets Discussion if you'd like to contribute more. Now's the chance to share alike!
|Natural Earth Data||Curated set of base layers for multiple global scales. Insanely useful for just about any mapping project you can imagine, and curated by some of the masters of contemporary cartography.|
|Shuttle Radar Topography Mission SRTM||A near global high resolution digital topographic database.|
|OpenStreetMap||A global user created map; as the name suggests, it initially concentrated on streets but today includes many other features.|
|Tiger||US Census Bureau's digital geographic data; contains roads, railroads, rivers, and lakes as well as statistical boundaries. Annoyingly, only available county by county.|
|National Map||WMS access to the USGS National Map. Provides boundaries, transport, land use, and ortho imagery for the US.|
|World Climate Data||A collection of current climate data, along with modeled past and future data derived from Global Climate Models. An interesting dataset that could be used to help clarify some of the current climate change debate.|
|Visual Analytics Benchmark Repository||Completely synthetic datasets developed by academics and scientists that embed fictitious narratives and have ground truth answers available - if you ever wanted to play with social media data, network traffic, etc... you will find these examples quite interesting, and since they're not real data you don't need to worry about doing something ethically or legally dubious.|