Ecological and Spatial Data Sources

Comprehensive / Informational Portals

Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE)

Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) is the foundation of new innovative environmental science through a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data.

Home Page: CGIAR CSI Consortium for Spatial Information

A community of the many geospatial scientists within Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). Serves Climate, Elevation, Socio-Economic, and Soils digital data sets.

Earth Distance Calculation Algorithms Reference Page

Useful review of Earth distance calculation formulas, courtesy of the Australian Government (Geoscience Australia)

EOS-EarthData (University of New Hampshire): Digital Library for Earth Science Data

Free, customized earth science data. Holdings can be searched spatially, temporally,
or via keywords

Portal to a variety of open-source geospatial datasets

Google Earth Engine

A planetary-scale platform for environmental data & analysis

NASA Global Change Master Data Set Directory

The GCMD holds more than 25,000 Earth science data set and service descriptions, which cover subject areas within the Earth and environmental sciences.

NASA Earth Data and Information

This page contains links to a broad set of remote sensing data sources as well as informational and tutorial remote sensing web sites

NOAA / National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) Marine Geology and Geophysics

Scientific stewardship, products, and services for sea floor and lake bed data

Natural Resources Canada - Earth Sciences Sector

Home page for Natural Resources Canada / Earth Sciences Sector. Good sources of geospatial data for Canada.

USGS National Data Portal

Interactive portal gives access to a global geospatial data archive

Map Projections Map Projection Utility

Find a spatial reference for most map projections

UTM Grid Zones of the World

Concise overview and map of Global Universe Transverse Mercator (UTM) Zones

Biogeochemical Data: Observations and Models

Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL-DAAC)

A NASA-sponsored source for biogeochemical and ecological data and models useful in
ecological analysis

United States Geological Survey - National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) program

Geochemical analysis of sediment samples throughout the United States, collected by
the hydrogeochemical and stream sediment reconnaissance (HSSR) phase of the
National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) program

Biological / Species Data

EDEN Data Archive: Emerging Diseases in a Changing European Environment

European Commission project aims to identify and catalogue those European ecosystems and environmental conditions that influence the spatial and temporal distribution and dynamics of human pathogenic agents.

NatureServe Data Collection Home Page

A leading source for reliable scientific information about species and ecosystems of the Western Hemisphere. This site serves as a portal for accessing several types of publicly available biodiversity data.

Climate Data: Observations and Models

Climate Research Unit (CRU) - University of East Anglia

CRU Home Page: Portal to research descriptions and data set access

Paper Describing the CRU Climate Data Set (PDF format)

IPCC Data Distribution Centre Climate Model Data Portal

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Data Distribution Center portal: provides climate, socio-economic, and environmental data for the past and projected future.

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR): Home Page

Information portal for NCAR: a federally funded research and development center devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences.

NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM) Home Page - Access to research tools and long-term simulation run datasets.

NCAR Earth Systems Laboratory (NESL) Climate and Global Dynamics Division (CGD)

CGD research provides understanding of the Earth's climate system and uses models to develop the capability of predicting the evolution of the climate system to the degree possible.

National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) Archives

One of the world's largest climate data archives.

NCDC Climate Data Online (CDO) portal

Searchable repository of surface climate parameter measurements.

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory /Physical Sciences Division (ESRL/PSD)

ESRL/PSD) addresses physical science questions of short- and long-term societal and policy relevance within NOAA's Climate and Weather and Water Goals, while conducting the physical process research necessary so that ESRL can help provide the nation with a seamless suite of information and forecast products ranging from short-term weather forecasts to longer-term climate forecasts and assessments.

PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University: High-Quality Interpolated Global Climate Data

Knowledge-based system uses point measurements of precipitation, temperature, and other climatic factors to produce continuous, digital grid estimates of monthly, yearly, and event-based climatic parameters.

World Climate Research Program/ Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (WCRP / CMIP3)
         (Registration required to download CMIP3 data sets)

WORLDCLIM: Global-scale Bioclimatic Data Layer Database

This database covers most of Earth surface at 1 KM**2 spatial resolution.
Includes 19 climate measurements well-suited for use in ecological modeling.

Economic Data

Eurostat Portal - European Union (EU) Statistical Information Service

Extensive archive of European socio-economic statistical data sets.

Forest Resource Data

US Department of Agriculture: Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program (FIA)

The FIA Program reports on status and trends in forest area and location; in the species, size, and health of trees; in total tree growth, mortality, and removals by harvest; in wood production and utilization rates by various products; and in forest land ownership.

Habitat Data

Bailey's Ecoregions of the United States

Ecoregions defined by common climatic and vegetation characteristics, shown as domains, divisions, provinces and sections.

Natureserve Species Distribution Maps

Extensive data on the animals of the United States, Canada, and the Western Hemisphere

USGS Science Topics Search Results: Habitats

Use this page to search the USGS Archives for habitat reports and research papers

Hydrologic / Water Resources Data

National Hydrography Dataset-PLUS

NHDPlus is an integrated suite of application-ready geospatial data sets that incorporate many of the best features of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), the National Elevation Dataset (NED), the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD), and the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD).

USGS Water Data for the Nation

Access to free online time-series about US freshwater data (streamgages, wells, ...)

USGS Coastal and Marine data

Access to free online scientific information about oceans, coasts, and coastal watersheds.

Land Cover and Land Use Data

California Land Cover Mapping and Monitoring Program

Produced by the State of California. This program uses Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite imagery to map land cover types and derive land cover changes across all ownerships. The state is covered in five unique project areas. One project area is completed each year, then revisited and updated every fifth year.

CEC/North American Land Change Monitoring System (NALCMS) (250 meter spatial resolution)

Nineteen land cover classes defined using the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) standard developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations. From the Council on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) North American Environmental Atlas

European Space Agency Ionia GlobCover Portal

The GlobCover Portal provides access to the results of the GlobCover project: Global-scale composite and land cover maps produced using the 300m MERIS sensor carried aboard the ENVISAT satellite.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Land Resources Database Portal

Global-scale collection of links to agriculture-related land cover and terrain data bases. Includes data for remote countries.

Example: FAO GeoNetwork portal to global thematic map data

Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF)

Collaborative effort by NASA and University of Maryland. Provider of comprehensive earth science data and derived data products

HYDE: History Database of the Global Environment (0.5 degree spatial resolution)

HYDE presents (gridded) time series of population and land use for the last 12,000 years ! It also presents various other indicators such as GDP, value added, livestock, agricultural areas and yields, private consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and industrial production data, but only for the last century.

USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI) Home Page

The LCI addresses landcover topics at local to global spatial scales, worldwide. Well-stocked data portal for local, national, and global landcover data. Includes the National Land Cover Dataset.

Shortcut to Land Cover Institute North American Data Links

University of Maryland Global Land Cover Data Set (1 Km spatial resolution)

Global land cover classification using a classification tree approach

Map and Digital Terrain Data

Home Page: CGIAR CSI Consortium for Spatial Information: SRTM 3 Arc Second global data set

High quality elevation data for large portions of the tropics and other areas of the developing world.

SRTM 90 Meter Digital Elevation Database Version 4.1

The latest and most complete version of the CGIAR SRTM 90 meter resolution data set.

Two Data Portals: ASTER GDEM 1 Arc Second Digital Terrain Data

Japan / MITI ASTER GDEM portal

Best for obtaining fewer than 100 ASTER GDEM 1 degree**2 data tiles

NASA (WIST) Data Portal

Best for bulk download - more than 100 - data tiles

Digital Chart of the World (DCW) Information Site

The DCW is a comprehensive 1:1,000,000 scale vector basemap of the world, designed to meet the needs of pilots and air crews in medium-and low-altitude en route navigation and to support military operational planning, intelligence briefings, and other needs.

Global Land Cover Facility - Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Portal

A good place to obtain SRTM global-scale digital terrain model data sets in three different spatial resolutions (cell sizes): 30 meter/90 meter/1 kilometer.

Global Terrain Slope and Aspect Data - IIASA/ LUC program

A Global terrain slope and aspect database compiled from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation data.

Data Documentation: Global Terrain Slope and Aspect Data Online Digital Elevation Data Journal

Comprehensive clearinghouse for digital terrain and land cover data,
Including informative articles.

USGS Earth Resource Observation and Science Center (EROS) Elevation Products Home Page

EROS Data Center portal for worldwide digital Earth terrain data.

World Borders Dataset from 

Vector dataset containing boundaries for all world countries.

Virtual Terrain Project (VTP) Home page

The goal of VTP is to foster the creation of tools for easily constructing any part of the real world in interactive, 3D digital form. Terrain data sources and discussions of terrain simulation methodologies.


Remote Sensing Satellite Data

The United States Government maintains these 'scientist-friendly', interactive Web portals for searching for and acquiring (mostly) FREE geospatial datasets:

MODIS Active Fire and Burned Area Products Portal

University of Maryland maintains this portal for the complete, worldwide Active Fire detection of actual fires) and Burned Area (areas affected bu fire) Products imagery products derived from MODIS Sensor data.

NASA Data Portal

Search and order earth science data from various NASA and affiliated centers: Atmosphere/Cryosphere/Land/Ocean/Solar domains. Account required for downloads.

NASA Ocean Color Web Portal

MODIS AQUA and SeaWiFS Ocean-Monitoring satellite data and software tools

USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Data Center

USGS Earth Explorer Spatial Data Search and Acquisition site

Provides access to a diverse data collection of including aerial photography, vector map data, digital elevation maps, landcover, and carbon mapping imagery. Designed for downloads of individual data product files

Home Page / Data Portal for the primary archive and data management center for remote sensing data collected by the United States Goverment.

USGS LP-DAAC / Access to Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) and other search tools

Gives access to several online search/order tools for remote sensing data, including: Landsat, MODIS, ASTER, other imagery. Supports download of multiple images/data sets. Account required for downloads.

USGS TerraLook satellite image portal

TerraLook portal permits users to create their own collections of georeferenced JPEG satellite images from ASTER and Landsat sensors. Good for scientists wishing to learn about remote sensing data.

Soils Data

IIASA / LUC Harmonized World Soil Database

A collaborative, comprehensive Harmonized World Soil Database compiled from regional and national updates of soil information.

ISRIC World Soil Information: Global soil research and data archive

As a World Data Centre for Soils: serves the scientific community as custodian of world soil information by collecting, scrutinising, analysing and disseminating data and information, and making them freely available.

USDA soil survey datasets

US soil survey information, including soil geographic databases.