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GIS: Spatial Data

What is spatial data?

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

Spatial data file formats

Common spatial data types

Vector data (point, line, and polygon)

  • Point
    • points in space; XY coordinates (usually latitude and longitude)
    • e.g., washroom locations
  • Line
    • two or more points connected to form a line
    • e.g., bus routes
  • Polygon
    • three or more points connected to form an area
    • e.g., neighborhood boundaries

Raster data

  • A matrix of cells or pixels
  • e.g., satellite imagery; LiDAR data

Accessing Spatial Data

Open Access

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

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.