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GIS Data and Resources

This guide provides geospatial data sources and citation guidance for use with GIS

What is the Geospatial Data Collection

The Geospatial Data Collection is a shared network drive that requires WashU network or VPN access. This drive contains geospatial data that have been shared with the Data Services group from various sources. Most of these datasets have been obtained from outside agencies or groups and the WashU Libraries is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur.

Check out the Geospatial Data Collection directory structure diagram for assistance in navigating the network drive.

Accessing the Data

Step 1

All users must review and sign the terms and conditions listed in the WashU Libraries Geospatial Data Request Form.

Step 2

After completing the above form, users will receive access confirmation from Data Services staff member within two business days.

Step 3

Map network drive (WashU network connection or VPN required) to \\\libraries_gdc.  For instructions on how to map a network drive, see Mapping a Network Drive.

What happened to \\\gispublic?

All data on gispublic has been moved to the new network storage location described above or to a read-only Box location.

Looking for a file that was previously available on gispublic?

See the GISPUBLIC to Geospatial Data Collection location mapping document.


Having trouble connecting to the Geospatial Data Collection? Try these troubleshooting steps:

1. Confirm that you have received an email from a Data Services staff member confirming your access to the collection.


2. If attempting to map the drive from an off-campus location, confirm that you have successfully signed in to a WashU VPN.  If you have questions about the WashU VPN options, see WashU IT's Connect page.


3. If attempting to map the drive from an on-campus location, confirm that you are using a wired network or a WashU wireless network that requires credentials (not a guest network).


4. Confirm that you have followed the steps for mapping a network drive for your operating system (see below sections if you need guidance).


5. Attempt to map the network drive using the IP address ( instead of the name (  To do this, follow the instructions in the "Mapping a network drive" guides above, but replace the server name with the IP address:


Enter the rest of your credentials in the same way as before.

If this step fixes the issue, try uninstalling and reinstalling the Cisco AnyConnect application that is used to sign in to the WashU VPN.  After uninstalling and reinstalling Cisco AnyConnect, attempt to map the network drive with the name again.


6. If you continue to experience issues accessing the drive, please contact the Data Services staff person referenced in Step 1 above.

Mapping a Network Drive (Windows)

Map the GDC to a network drive

1. Connect to the WUSTL network, either on-campus (encrypted, not guest wireless) or via a WashU VPN.

2. Open Windows File Manager / Windows Explorer: Start > Computer (or My PC)

3. Right click on Computer (or My PC) > Map network drive


Map network drive


4. Select the desired drive letter using the "Drive" drop down menu

5. In the "Folder" text box, type \\\libraries_gdc

6. Check the "Reconnect at logon" box if you wish to create a persistent link

7. Check the "Connect using different credentials" box

8. Click Finish




9. Enter the phrase "accounts\<your wustlkey>" (replace <your wustkey> with your own WUSTL Key) and your WUSTL password to log in.  For example, if your WUSTL key is jsmith, you would enter accounts\jsmith in the username section.



10. After connecting successfully, navigate to the Geospatial Data Collection by clicking through the "Active" and "geospatial_data" directories.


Create a folder connection to the GDC in ArcGIS Pro

1. Open the ArcGIS Pro application (Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcGIS Pro)

2. In the Catalog Pane, right click on Folders > Add Folder Connection


arcgis pro folder connection


3. In the Add Folder Connection window, navigate to My PC and then click on the connection the "libraries_gdc"



Create a folder connection in ArcMap (Soon to be discontinued)

1. Open the ArcMap application (Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > ArcMap)

2. Open the Catalog window (Icon located in the Standard toolbar)



3. In the Catalog window, right click on Folder Connections > Connect to Folder



4. In the Connect to Folder dialog, navigate to the mapped network drive "libraries_gdc" and click OK.




5. The libraries_gdc drive is now mapped in the Catalog window.  Expand the drive to view its contents.



Mapping a Network Drive (Mac)

Map a network drive (Mac)

1. Connect to the WUSTL network, either on-campus (encrypted, not guest wireless) or via a WashU VPN.

2. Open Finder > Go > Connect to Server


Finder Window Connect To Server


3. Enter the server address: smb://




4. When prompted, connect as Registered User.  Enter your WUSTL credentials:

  • Name: accounts\<wustl key> (Replace <wustl key> with your own WUSTL key)
  • Password: your WUSTL password




5. The shared drive 'libraries_gdc' will now appear as a mounted drive in Finder and on the Desktop



Note: If you do not see 'libraries_gdc' as a mounted drive, open Finder and go to Finder > Preferences... Under the General tab, under Show these items on the desktop: make sure that Connected servers is checked. You will then be able to see the 'libraries_gdc' mounted drive on your desktop.