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GIS Data Resources

This guide helps you find data resources for your GIS projects. If you do not find the resource or features of interest, please consult this page for tips on where else to look.


GISPUBLIC refers to a shared network drive that can be accessed when you are logged into the WU network either directly or via a VPN connection.  This drive contains GIS data that have been shared with the Data and GIS Services (DGS) group over the years.  This collection includes resources that can be used for mapping projects, spatial analysis, and other projects.  All of these datasets have been obtained from outside agencies or groups and DS is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. Your use of these data is limited to educational or research purposes only.

If you encounter problems accessing these data, please contact Bill Winston for assistance.  If you have questions regarding data format, content, or provenance, consult the metadata that may be available either in the dataset's home folder, in a listing on this Lib-Guide, or via the "Item Description" which can be accessed in ArcGIS. Some of our more popular layers are listed below to help users find items of interest. Please contact Data Services if you have specific requests.

This collection is by no means exhaustive and there are many other sources for GIS data available.  Consult our "GIS Data" LibGuide for more information.  


Data Collections on GISPUBLIC


This folder contains collections of GIS data that are distributed by ESRI with their applications.  The collections feature map document files (MXD) that reference the individual shapefiles or geodatabase feature classes stored in each subfolder.  If you are browsing for data, open the MXD and peruse the available layers.  If you know what you are looking for, you can add it to your own map document by browsing to the specific dataset of interest.
  • BusinessAnalyst
    • These collections are only available for use in the ESRI Business Analyst application.  That software is installed on all of the systems in the Research Studio - Olin Library Level A room 06.
  • DataAndMaps_20XX
    • Each subfolder contains the collection released in the year included in the folder name. 
    • Many common features of interest are available in the subfolders including:
      • USA
        • State, County, and Zip Code polygons
        • Census geometries including tracts, block groups and block polygons.  These features contain some demographic data.
        • Road, river, and rail line features
        • City, landmark, and transportation point features.
      • Global datasets of:
        • Continental, country, and administrative boundaries
        • Lakes, rives, and other drainage features
        • Geographic, UTM, and timezone reference lines
  • ESRI_DemographicsData
    • Collections of data compiled by ESRI to facilitate demographic data visualization and analysis. This collection contains geodatabases with records from the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year aggregated datasets, ESRI's own "Tapestry" datasets, and consumer spending data.  Each subfolder contains all 3 collections for the specific year and metadata is provided in PDF documents that detail data sources and methods used to produce these resources.

The St. Louis County Planning office makes their GIS data collection available and we have been obtaining and archiving these data since 1997.  Inside the StLouisCountyPlanning folder you will find annual datasets cataloged by the year of release.  Most of the features are in shapefile (SHP) format but there are also some geodatabase feature classes.  
Note: St. Louis County now releases current version of their data via this open data portal.
Each annual collection includes subfolders containing shapefiles representing features in St. Louis county including:
  • Boundary
    • Census (Tracts, Block Groups, and Blocks - these features contain some demographic data)
    • Political (Council districts, municipal wards, MO Senate and House districts; US Congress districts, and voting precincts)
    • Service (i.e. Airport zones; fire, school and police districts; zip codes, and zoning)
  • Hydro
    • Lakes, rivers, and FEMA flood zones
  • Infrastructure
    • Airports and runways, fire stations, schools, and landmarks
  • Landbase
    • Soil survey, karst boundaries
  • Parcelbase
    • Property parcel boundaries and a table detailing some of the Use Codes that describe these features
  • Reference
    • USGS quadrangles, flood insurance rate map panels
  • Transport
    • Streetcenterlines, Metrolink tracks and stops, Park and Ride lots
Some of the data cover St. Louis county and St. Louis city (i.e. streetcenterlines).  There are also some unique datasets of interest including
2007\parcelbase\BuildingFootprints.gdb\BuildingFootprints - polygon features representing building shapes
Public_ROW - outlines of the street edges (i.e. "Right of way")
Sidewalks - line features showing sidewalk edges
Structures - polygons of building outlines


This folder contains our collection of aerial imagery.  We have an extensive set of historical images for St. Louis county and some of the images extend beyond the county boundary.  Washington University is visible in most of the St. Louis county collections and there is a map document set up in this folder (AerialPhotos\Missouri\StLouis_County) to facilitate viewing those images.