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Find Vector Geodata

This table contains some commonly used vector (point, line, or polygon) geospatial data sets that are available over the Internet. The table includes the names of Mapping Toolbox™ functions that read specific kinds of data. Click any numbered footnote in the right column to access data sets and associated documentation on the Web. Note, however, that Web addresses (URLs) for data can disappear or change, making some of the links unusable.

Note

If you are using a Macintosh and the links in this table do not work, open the Mapping Toolbox documentation in a separate Web browser and view this section there. When you open the documentation, search for "Finding Vector Geodata" to find this topic.

Vector Data Set or Data Product Data Provider Import Functions Internet URLs for Documentation and Data (HTTP or FTP)

Canadian provincial and Mexican state boundaries in zipped shapefile format

NOAA

shapeinfo
shaperead

Documentation link: [1]
Canada data link: [2]
Mexico data link: [3]

Esri® shapefiles

Esri and many other sources

shapeinfo
shaperead

Documentation link: [1]
For data links, see entries for TIGER, U.S. National Atlas, and U.S. coastlines.

Global Self-Consistent Hierarchical High-Resolution Geography (GSHHG)

NOAA/
NGDC

gshhs

Doc and data link: [1]
Data (older versions): [2]

TIGER/Line® files

U.S. Census Bureau

shapeinfo
shaperead

Documentation and data link: [1]
Data (for 2000, in shapefile format): [2]

TIGER cartographic boundary files

U.S. Census Bureau

shapeinfo
shaperead

Doc and Data link: [1]
This site contains downloadable boundary files for census geographies in Esri Ungenerate, E00, and shapefile formats. Use shapefile format when importing to Mapping Toolbox.

U.S. coastlines, historical data

NOAA

shapeinfo
shaperead

Documentation, metadata, and data in shapefile format: [1]

World coastlines from various sources

NGDC/
USGS

load

Data link: [1]

Abbreviations for data providing organizations used in the preceding table:

  • Esri (Environmental Sciences Research Institute)

  • NGDC (National Geophysical Data Center)

  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

  • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

  • USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

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