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Geospatial Data Overview
Geospatial Data Sources
Scholars GeoPortal is a service from the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) that offers discovery and access to a variety of open and restricted geospatial datasets covering Ontario and Canada. Open datasets are accessible by all, while restricted datasets are available for teaching and research purposes (non-commercial use only) to educators, researchers, students, faculty, and staff at McMaster or other Ontario universities. For off-campus McMaster users, login is required to access restricted datasets.
See the Getting Started with Scholars GeoPortal video for an introduction, or the online GeoPortal User Guide for help using the portal. The guide also includes information about citing geospatial data, understanding map projections and coordinates as well as providing a glossary of GIS terminology.
While most geospatial datasets can be downloaded through Scholars GeoPortal, some datasets restricted to McMaster University affiliates are not available online. For these datasets, which includes data from the City of Hamilton, DMTI Spatial, parcel boundaries, and imagery, try searching the internal geospatial database.
Users will be required to complete data request forms for restricted data, where indicated.
Additional datasets can be found online through various data portals, some of which are listed below. Many of these portals, particularly those of municipal, provincial, and federal governments, are making their data available under open data licenses.
To see these and other data portals, search our internal geospatial database, under the subject heading "portals".
The City of Hamilton's Open Data Program includes a wide variety of datasets in various file formats (.kml, .csv, .xls, .shp) and topics. Examples of open datasets include beach water quality, bikeways, census data, development applications, and base mapping data such as neighbourhood boundaries.
Additional datasets from the City of Hamilton are available from the Library's Geospatial Data Catalogue. These datasets are restricted to McMaster students, staff, and faculty and require users to sign a data request form.
Land Information Ontario's GeoHub allows users to search open geospatial data and discover associated metadata. An examples of an open geospatial dataset includes the Southwestern Ontario Orthophotography Project - Digital Elevation Model.
Datasets produced by a variety of provincial ministries and departments. The data catalogue includes open data, data that has been slated to be opened, as well as restricted datasets.
The Government of Canada's Open Government Portal includes an open data portal for data pertaining to services, demographics and high resolution maps, and an open maps portal for geospatial data, services, and applications.
Interactive tool to search and discover geospatial data for Canada. Includes imagery, raster, vector, and elevation data in addition to some previously archived data. Previews are available for select datasets.