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Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences
GIS for Public Health: A Guide: Geospatial Data
Resources for GIS and Geocoding in relation to public health
Geospatial data is data that contains location or geographic information. This means that the records in a dataset have locational information tied to them such as geographic data in the form of coordinates, address, city, or ZIP code. Geospatial data comes in many formats. The format type depends on data to be displayed. File formats are categorized as vector, raster, imagery, and legacy GIS file formats.They can then be layered and analyzed to visualize data.
Produced by the American Geological Institute, this database is a comprehensive geoscience database containing over 2.2 million bibliographic records from more than 3,000 journals and other sources. GeoRef provides coverage in subject areas such as mineralogy and crystallography, general mineralogy, mineralogy of silicates, and mineralogy of non-silicates.
DataPlanet simplifies data analysis by providing an all-in-one resource for social science researchers and students to access statistics relevant to their areas of study. As of 2020, DataPlanet Statistical Datasets: China Data; DataPlanet Statistical Datasets: GFS and DataPlanet Statistical Datasets: EASI Market Planner are part of the DataPlanet Datasets page and searchable via the Featured, Subject, Source and/or Geography tabs drop down menu.
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Social Explorer “contains over 18,000 maps, hundreds of profile reports, 40 billion data elements, 335,000 variables and 220 years of data”. It can be used to locate census tract boundary information from 1940 to the present.
A raster consists of pixels organized into a grid. Each cell is comprised of a value representing information. Raster data is data in a .JPG, .TIF, .GIF or similar format. Items scanned using a flatbed scanner like this map are examples of raster files.
The map below is an example of raster data. Scanned maps must then be geo-referenced with accurate location data to align them with a map coordinate system.
Vector data is a representation using points, lines, and polygons. Vector models are useful for storing data that has discrete boundaries, such as country borders, land parcels, and streets. Common formats include Shapefiles and File Geodatabase Feature Classes
The vector data displayed below depicts the eight districts of the New Orleans Police Department.
Numeric data is statistical data which includes a geographical component or field that can be joined with vector files so the data can be queried and displayed as a layer on a map in a GIS. An example of numeric data is an excel spreadsheet of 911 calls for service with location information. In this example location information is represented by longitude and latitude. However, location information could also be displayed using a street address or intersection.