Skip to main content

GIS: Geographic Information Systems: Geospatial Data

GIS/Geospatial Data

Data is geospatial when it includes information that positions it somewhere on (or relative to) Earth.

Common types of GIS data
  • Vector data (point, line, and polygon)
    • Point
      • points in space; XY coordinates (usually latitude and longitude)
      • use case: a map showing public washroom locations
    • Line
      • two or more points connected to form a line
      • use case: a map showing bus routes
    • Polygon
      • three or more points connected to form an area
      • use case: a map showing neighborhood boundaries
  • Raster data
    • A matrix of cells or pixels
    • Digital aerial photographs and satellite imagery are examples of raster data

Accessing Geospatial Data

Open Access

Freely available to view and download online. Government data is frequently open access. 

Mediated (Library) Access

Only accessible to the USask community. Requires login with your NSID/password, or the assistance of a Library employee.

Restricted Access

Access only via an application process and/or for a fee. 

Maps and Cartographic Resources

GIS can be used in conjunction with other cartographic resources like maps and aerial photographs