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Find Geospatial Data Online

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., GSHHG, 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.

For information about a small but useful subset of geodata resources on the Internet, see the following topics:


MathWorks® does not warrant the accuracy, timeliness, or fitness for use of any data set listed in these topics, and makes no endorsement of any data vendor mentioned.

  • Find Vector Geodata — Lists URLs from which you can obtain vector (point, line, or polygon) geospatial data sets and data products, such as ESRI shape files.

  • Find Raster Geodata — Lists URLs from which you can obtain raster (gridded) geospatial data sets and data products, such as Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED). This topic also covers raster maps from Web Map Service servers.

  • Additional Data Resources— Lists URLs from which you can obtain geospatial data sets, such as NASA’s Earth science data sets.


If you are viewing this documentation installed locally (controlled by your Documentation location preference), you should also consult Find Geospatial Data Online on the MathWorks website for possible updates and corrections.