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CPLN 5080: Urban Research Methods


Housing - OpenDataPhilly - Property assessments, real estate transfers, etc.
PolicyMap - Home sales, rental units, mortgages, etc.
Social Explorer - Maps and tables from 1790-2010 census.
Philadelphia Housing Plans - Needs assessment and housing market analysis.
Philadelphia Building Footprints - Delineation of buildings or related structure outlines.
Property Assessment Data - Location, proposed market value, and exemption/abatement.
National Association of Realtors Housing Statistics - National, regional, and metro-market level
US Census Housing Data - Values, rents and mortgages, etc.
Zillow Real Estate Data - Data for US housing variables.

​OpenStreetMap - A map of the world free to use under an open license.
Geofabrik - Excerpts and derived data from the OpenStreetMap.
OSM Editor for ArcMap - Access and contribute to OpenStreetMap.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

TIGER files - Roads, railroads, rivers, etc. covering the entire United States.
Census Transportation Planning Products - Understand where people are commuting.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics - Facilities, networks, and associated infrastructure.
Railroads and the Making of Modern America - Project on visualizing railroad history.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) - Emissions, gas, carbon management, etc.
Digital Coast - Tools and tutorials for coastal inundation studies.

DOE and NREL Energy Datasets Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EnviroMapper - Environmental activities that may affect US air, water, and land.

Environmental Protection Agency - Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database.

EPA Geospatial Data - Information about facilities or sites subject to environmental regulation.
Global Change Master Directory - Energy, environment, and climate related data sets.
NASA's Earth Data Website - Land, ocean and atmosphere data.
National Air Toxics Assessments - Density maps, data tables, summaries, and sources.
National Coal Resources Data System (NCRDS) Database - Stratigraphy and chemistry of coal.
National Renewable Energy Lab - Biomass, geothermal, solar, wind, and renewable hydrogen.
US Department of Energy Data Explorer - Find scientific research data.
Wind Resource Map - Map for the United States with links to state wind maps.

US Energy Information Administration Maps - Exploration, resources, reserves and production.

US Fish and Wildlife Geospatial Services - Various environmental and conservation datasets.
USGS Energy Data Finder - Download GIS and tabular data.

USGS Protected Areas Database - Downloadable in geodatabase format.

World Protected Areas Database Global dataset of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

National Land Cover Database (NLCD) - Land cover information at the national scale.

Cropland Data Layer - Crop-specific land cover data layer for the United States.

Bureau of Land Management Navigator - Mapping of the BLM activities.

National Wetlands Inventory - Data and reports related to wetlands.

Land Cover Institute (LCI) Data - List of sources of land cover data.
National Land Cover Dataset 1992 - 21-class land cover classification scheme for the US.
ISLSCP II Historical Land Cover and Land Use - Describes historical land use changes.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!


Atlas of Urban Expansion - Geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion.

CShapes - Dataset that provides historical maps in the post-World War II period.

DIVA-GIS - Free spatial data for countries.

Geo-Referencing of Ethnic Groups - Polygons to represent ethnic groups.

Global Administrative Boundaries - Spatial database of the location of administrative areas.

NASA Earthdata - Variety of free data including imagery, land cover, and climate data.

Natural Earth - A resource for making custom maps.

OpenStreetMap - A map of the world, free to use under an open license.

Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center - On human interactions in the environment.

UN Environment Programme Data Explorer - Data used by UNEP and in GEO reports.

Worldpop - Population distribution and composition maps.

World Resources Institute - GIS data on many topics.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Canada Atlas of Canada - Collection of maps and related information.

Canada British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines - Access to the maps and databases.

Canada Canadian Soil Information Source - Landscapes, plant hardiness, ecosystem, etc.

Canada CTA Transportation Networks - Representations of the transportation infrastructure.

Canada Open Government of Canada - After searching the data portal, filter by file format.

Canada Geomatics Yukon - Environmental, forestry, and mining spatial data and imagery.

Canada Montreal Open Data - Data in a variety of formats (in French).

Canada National Ecological Framework for Canada - Maps, GIS data and descriptions.

Canada Statistics Canada - Statistics that help Canadians better understand their country.

United States - U.S. Government’s open data.

United States MapCruizin - Free shapefiles for the US on a variety of topics.

United States National Map Viewer - Managed by the National Geospatial Program (NGP).

United States National Park Service GIS - Downloadable NPS maps.

United States ScienceBase - USGS data from across the US.

United States State Online Atlases - Hosted by Western Illinois University.

United States HUD Local Level Data US housing data.

United States USDA GeoSpatialDataGateway - Environmental and natural resources data.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Argentina Buenos Aires Data - Available in Spanish.

Brazil Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística - Topographic, political, and natural maps.

Columbia Geographic Map Data Catalog Reference (Bogotá) - Transportation and zoning data.

Mexico CTA Transportation Networks - Representations of the transportation infrastructure.

Mexico U.S. - Mexico Border Environmental Health Initiative - Includes a variety of data layers.

Mexico Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia - Elevation data is free with registration.

Mexico Tijuana River Watershed Data - Boundaries, geologic features, soils.

Mexico ​Geo-referenced Population Datasets - Data for hundreds of urban places (1990 census).

Mexico Mexico Homicides (2006 – 2011) - Geo-referenced yearly data at the municipal level.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Europe European Environment Agency - Environmental datasets and maps.

Europe Eurostat  - Statistical office of the European Union.

France Geoportail - Aerial photographs and topographic maps. (French)

Germany Federal Election Commission - Results for parliamentary and European elections.

Germany Geoportal - Includes thematic maps and aerial photographs.

Italy Italian Open Data - Limit based on format to view geographic data. (Italian)

Italy GeoData@Polimi - Data portal from Politecnico Milano University.

UK Public Geodata for the UK - Maintained by the UK local chapter of OSGEO.

UK Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources - Data on renewable energy technologies.

UK Ordnance Survey Open Data - From the national mapping agency.

UK Office of National Statistics Census Geography Datasets - Shapefiles for England and Wales.

UK Scottish SDI Metadata Catalogue - Data provided by Scottish public sector organisations.

UK British Geological Survey Open Geoscience - View maps, download data, and more.

UK Environment Agency Open Data - Data published by government and local authorities.

UK London Datastore - Index of open data resources.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Afghanistan Afghanistan Election Data - Election data from 2004 to present.

China China Data Online - Statistical and economic information from China.

China China Dimensions - GIS data for China.

China China Geo Explorer II - Demographic and business information.

China Harvard China Data Center - Links and GIS data provided by Harvard.

China Bejing City Lab - Research network dedicated to studying China’s capital.

India Community Created Maps of India - Sourced from different government websites.

Japan Statistics Bureau - PDF maps created from census data.

Japan Japan Historical GIS  - Boundary shapefiles for feudal Japan.

Pakistan Humanitarian Response Pakistan - Data related to flooding in 2010 and 2011.

Philippines Philippines Free GIS Data - Download GIS datasets.

Yemen Ministry of Public Health & Population - Shapefiles and surveys of the health facilities.

Russia Moscow Open Data - Access data on a variety of topics.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Africover: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Land cover and agricultural data for 10 nations.

Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) Data Explorer - Environmental GIS and remote sensing data along with some population data.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

Australia Geoscience Australia - Data related to topography, geology and the environment.

Australia Australian Electoral Commission - Federal Electoral Boundaries data.

Australia Australian National Pollutant Inventory - Data sets related to pollution across Australia.

Australia Australian Mines Atlas - Mineral resources, mines, and processing centers.

Australia Australian Bureau of Statistics - Data sets from various censuses.

Australia South Australia Open Data - Use the filters to look for data in a specific format.

Thanks to MIT Libraries for compiling these resources!

US States


Philadelphia Statistics: A guide organizing sources of statistical information on Philadelphia and the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Below are some questions to consider as you select sources.
Pennsylvania Mapping and Geographic Information Consortium (PAMAGIC)
Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA)

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