GIS Mapping Resources

California GIS Maps and Data Sets

  • California Department of Education (CDE) – provides two ways to look up demographic information for counties, districts, and schools:
    • Ed-Data Partnership – offers financial, demographic, and performance data for California K-12 public schools at the state, county, school district, or individual school level. (You can search for data as far back as the 1992-93 school year.) The site will display some of the information in a pie-chart format.
    • DataQuest – much of the same data as Ed-Data, above, but it can be manipulated (in the good sense) to provide very specific data in a spreadsheet format. It also will compare the school or district data with the state and county data.
  • California Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) – Maps and GIS Data
  • California Spatial Information Library (CaSIL) – pretty much the California GIS mother lode; the range of data here is extremely broad, while specialized and useful for advocates, including core political data.
  • California Statewide Database (SWDB) @ Berkeley – the redistricting database for the state of California; compiled from census data, free to those interested in the political and demographic characteristics of California.
  • HealthyCity – offers comprehensive California-wide access to community resources, demographic/health data, and GIS mapping.
  • Stanford Geospatial Center @ Stanford University – expansive listing of GIS data and other resources.

National GIS Maps and Data Sets

  • Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities – non-profit consulting and advocacy firm specializing in public data and demographic analysis and sophisticated GIS mapping in support of civil rights, sustainable and equitable growth, environmental justice and exposing and challenging long-standing institutional racism, among other areas.
  • Community Mapping is part of the Equitable Development Toolkit available at
  • FedStats: MapStats – wonderfully easy to use, your only a few clicks away from getting solid Census-based demographic data at the state, county, city and Congressional district level.
    • Thematic Maps – generate a downloadable map image showing basic demographic data at the national or state level.
  • HUD Enterprise Geographic Information Systems Portal (EGIS) – interesting implementation using ArcIMS technology, enables you to drill down from state to local level to map numerous types of data sets, including various types of housing stock, environmental elements, zip code areas, and more.
  • HUD User – A Picture Of Subsidized Housing 1996-present – this dataset describes the millions of households living in HUD-subsidized housing in the United States; provides characteristics of assisted housing units and residents, summarized at the national, state, public housing agency (PHA), project, and census tract levels; also includes summary data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and cities; users can also create custom queries of the Picture data by geography and by HUD program to retrieve exact data.
  • Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity – research institute that makes significant use of GIS mapping to analyze race and ethnicity issue; offers a slew of free presentations and publications.
  • Map Layers Warehouse @ – free map layers include national data and map layers for mapping of select census populations.
  • National Map @ USGS – at first glance, this application looks like a typical online map viewer with a slightly more-complicated-than-usual interface, but don’t be fooled… it packs a real punch; see An ode to the National Map at the Race Equity Project for ideas about how to use this GIS application in advocacy work.
  • OnTheMap @ U.S. Census – online application to create detailed maps showing where people work and where workers live with companion reports on worker ages, earnings, industry distribution, and local workforce indicators).
  • – among other online mapping features and statistical tools available here, you can enter a zip code and get a list of pollutants emitted in that area and who emits them; search by geographic area or company name; and find rankings for lead hazards, land contamination (Superfund) according to state, county or census tract. And there’s more! You can rank on country or state level and lists companies responsible; show degrees of environmental burdens felt by different racial and income groups in each county in English or Spanish; and allows you to rank the top issues in the designated area based on comparative risk projects.
  • Social Explorer – another national GIS mapping tool with more limited data sets, but interesting demos of how to effectively map data.
  • SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Map Machine @ USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) – utilizing national-, state- and county-level data to layout Food Stamp (as well as some TANF) statistics, this web-based mapping utility generates maps in JPEG format illustrating program participation and benefit levels down to the county level, as well as per capita participation, per capita benefits, changes from year to year, and more.
  • Stanford Geospatial Center @ Stanford University – expansive listing of GIS data and other resources.

Geocoding: Locating Latitude & Longitude

  • – free, powerful batch geocoding tool that can take multiple U.S. street address and spit back latitude and longitude coordinates for use in mapping applications.
  • U.S. Gazetteer Files – files allow you to locate a county, county subdivision, incorporated place or Census Designated Place (CDP) by name without having to know the latitude/longitude coordinates.
  • – well past its shelf life but can be helpful for free geocoding of individual addresses and intersections in the United States.
  • Latitude & Longitude Conversion Tools – utility to convert latitude and longitude between decimal degrees and degrees, minutes, and seconds.

Zip Code Mapping and Data Sets

Google Maps Tools & Resources

  • Google Maps Engine – the future of Google-based data-driven GIS mappping; currently, LSNC relies on Google Maps Engine Pro, the intermediate, business-scale version better suited to larger datasets.

Race Equity Project GIS Tutorials

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