Enrich your maps with background images: discover a list of websites from where you can download spatial data for free

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Tagged Contaminated sites, Hydrogeology, Mining, Nuclear Decommissioning, Oil & Gas, , , ,

There is no better way to understand your data than to display it in its global environmental context. Geovariances software solutions, Isatis.neo and Kartotrak, embed GIS components for the 2D display of data of any kind (points, borehole tops, grids, polylines, polygons) in several layers. It is then easy to enrich your maps by adding background images imported from geographic raster or vector files.

Enrich your maps with background images: discover a list of websites from where you can download spatial data for free


Isatis.neo (our comprehensive solution in geostatistics) and Kartotrak (our solution dedicated to contaminated site characterization) can read many file formats including standard image file formats (bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif), CAD DWG/DXF, GeoTIFF, MapInfo, or ESRI Shapefile.

But sometimes, even in our virtual world, information might still be provided on a good old paper map. It’s not an issue. You can import it scanned into Isatis.neo or Kartotrak as an image file, then geolocalize it in a few clicks by translating, rotating, and applying homotheties to the loaded image to superimpose it accurately to the map.

Similarly, aerial views can be georeferenced, allowing you to go back in time and better understand your site context (e.g., buried pipes, removed buildings, former storage zones). It is then like playing the spot-the-differences game!



Here is a first list of websites where you can find worldwide spatial data to improve your large scale maps:

Vector files by country (administrative boundaries, rivers, roads, rail, elevation, occupation, population): www.diva-gis.org/data
Files at different resolutions (country, city, raster…): www.naturalearthdata.com
Topographic files (x,y,z or raster) 1 minute resolution: www.ncei.noaa.gov/maps/grid-extract
Space and airborne images: earthexplorer.usgs.gov
OpenStreetMap: extract.bbbike.org

And below are more detailed and national background map providers:
– For our Swiss friends: www.geo.admin.ch
– La même chose en France: www.geoportail.gouv.fr, remonterletemps.ign.fr
– Para España, ya está aquí: centrodedescargas.cnig.es/CentroDescargas

If you also know sites that provide spatial data, we invite you to give the info to Ophélie Lemarchand. She will be happy to share it with our users’ community. Thanks 🙂