Where can you download GIS maps for free?


Quick Answer

A number of online sources have free geographic information system maps available for download, including Natural Earth Data, GeoCommunity and Diva-GIS. To download GIS maps with Natural Earth Data, under the heading for either large-scale, medium-scale or small-scale data, choose from the Cultural, Physical or Raster links, locate the desired type of GIS map data, and click on the Download link.

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Full Answer

Natural Earth Data provides free GIS maps on a global scale, including physical and cultural vector GIS datasets. All Natural Earth Data maps are public domain, meaning cartographers and the general public alike may modify and utilize the data as they see fit. The North American Cartographic Information Society supports this resource. For updates on new downloads and available versions of Natural Earth Data, subscribe to the announcement list.

GeoCommunity offers free GIS data such as DLG, DEM, LU/LC, NWI and TIGER. Some other data products on the website require the purchase of data blocks, including DRG, FEMA, DOQ and DOQQ. Follow the links to the specific region and select Download. GeoCommunity requires all users to create an account in order to access the data available for free download.

To find data by country on the Diva-GIS website, search for GIS data by the country and subject, which may include administrative areas, railroads, elevation, land cover or population, then click on the Download link. To access some GIS maps, special software is necessary. To install the latest version of the required DIVA-GIS software, follow the Download Program link at the top of the page.

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