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Mapping and GIS

A guide to mapping resources, including GIS (geographic information systems), at the UNT Libraries and on the Internet. The guide also provides links to geospatial and other data that can be downloaded and mapped.

Using Other Datasets

A dataset doesn't have to be in a geospatial file for you to map the data to geographic locations. A social science or humanities dataset can be linked to a geospatial file and mapped as long as it meets two criteria:

  1. It is in an Excel spreadsheet or comma-delimited format or related, compatible file format like CAD (e.g., *.dwg,, *.dxf), and
  2. It has some sort of geographic information, either it:
    1. Shares a geographic designation field (to perform a join) with the target GIS file, e.g., zip code, county name, Census tract GeoID
    2. Has coordinates built into Latitude/Longitude fields (decimal degrees format is recommended) - then use the Display X,Y tool to see your data appear!

You don't need to use a pre-existing dataset either. You can start from scratch or join your spreadsheet data with your spatial data. For more information, see this article or this website. If you do decide to start from scratch, it may be worth consulting a resource such as Data Design for Mere Mortals to design your data to be as efficient and clean as possible.

For some training on how to use, clean or manipulate different datasets, check out - as a member of the UNT community, you get free access! 

GIS Forums

Social Science Datasets

Archaeology / Anthropology

Find Similar Structures

Business and Policy

Science Datasets

Humanities Datasets

Additional Links