Finding Geospatial Data

Many vector and raster data formats have been developed for storing geospatial data. With Mapping Toolbox™ you can read geodata files in general purpose formats (e.g., ESRI® shapefile, GeoTIFF, and SDTS DEM) that a variety of mapping and image processing applications also read and write. You can also read files that are in a variety of special formats designed to exchange specific sets or kinds of geodata (e.g., GSHHS, VMAP0, DEM, and DTED files). You can order, and in many cases, download such data over the Internet.

Mapping Toolbox provides generalized sample data in the form of data files for the entire Earth and its major regions, as well as some higher resolution files covering small areas. These data sets are frequently used in the code examples provided in the Mapping Toolbox documentation. You can find them in matlabroot/toolbox/map/mapdata. You can list them, along with their metadata and the examples that use them, by typing the following at the command line:

ls(fullfile(matlabroot, 'toolbox', 'map', 'mapdata'))
In addition, the worlddatamap function, available on MATLAB Central, allows you to use worldmap to map a region using data from a shapefile or data grid. Examples of worlddatamap and world vector data in shapefile format are available under the heading worlddatamap Examples.

The following two tables describe a small but useful subset of geodata resources on the Internet, providing URLs from which you can obtain documentation, metadata, and the data sets themselves. The first table describes vector data sets and data products, and the next one describes raster data sets and products. Click any numbered footnote in the right column to access data sets and associated documentation on the Web. The tables also include a list of Mapping Toolbox functions that read specific kinds of data.

    Note:   MathWorks® does not warrant the accuracy, timeliness, or fitness for use of any data set listed in the following tables, and makes no endorsement of any data vendor mentioned. Web addresses (URLs) for data can disappear or change, making some of the links unusable. However, if your documentation location preference is set to viewing help that is locally installed, you should also consult Finding Geospatial Data on the MathWorks Web site for possible updates and corrections.

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