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A wide variety of potentially useful open source and commercial software solutions are available.

GEOnet Names Server

The GEOnet Names Server (GNS) provides access to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ (US BGN) database of foreign geographic feature names. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions approved by the US BGN. Approximately 20,000 of the database’s features are updated monthly. Geographic Area of Coverage: Worldwide excluding the United States and Antarctica. For names in the U.S. and Antarctica, visit the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) web site. The GNS contains 4.0 million features with 5.5 million names (approximate). The coordinate system for data (more) is a geographic information system (GIS) portal, also known as the Geospatial One-Stop, that serves as a public gateway for improving access to geospatial information and data under the Geospatial One-Stop e-government initiative. Geospatial One-Stop is one of 24 e-government initiatives sponsored by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to enhance government efficiency and to improve citizen services. Geospatial One-Stop makes it easier, faster, and less expensive for all levels of government and the public to access geospatial information. The portal is (more)

A European Commission sponsored site that provides links to GIS vectors layers used for humanitarian purposes.

Geographic Information Support Team

The Geographic Information Support Team (GIST) is an inter-agency initiative that promotes the use of geographic data standards and geographical information systems (GIS) in support of humanitarian relief operations. The GIST also identifies data resources to support preparedness and emergency response. GIST members are technical experts, geographic information specialists and Information management officers from UN and donor agencies involved in disaster management and/or humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) acts as the GIST secretariat. To date, membership includes WFP, DPKO, OCHA, UNHCR, FAO, UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, USAID / OFDA, EU – ECHO (more)


The GeoNames geographical database is available for download free of charge under a creative commons attribution license. Geocoding places is possible using the database’s eight million geographical names, consisting of 7 million unique features, 2.6 million populated places and 2.8 million alternate names.

Armed Conflict Location and Event Data

ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset) is designed for disaggregated conflict analysis and crisis mapping. This dataset codes the location of all reported conflict events in 50 countries in the developing world. Data are currently being coded from 1997 to 2009 and the project continues to backdate conflict information for African states to the year of independence. These data contain information on the date and location of conflict events, the type of event, the rebel and other groups involved, and changes in territorial control. Specifics on battles, killings, riots, and recruitment activities by rebels, governments, militias, armed groups, protesters (more)

Digital Chart of the World

The Digital Chart of the World is a comprehensive 1:1,000,000 scale vector basemap of the world. The charts were designed to meet the needs of pilots and air crews in medium-and low-altitude en route navigation and to support military operational planning, intelligence briefings, and other needs. Thematic layers include roads, populated places, land cover, and vegetation.

East View Cartographic

EVC specializes in custom GIS data production using data from a variety of in-house or client sources. EVC is a provider of global outsourcing management services, helping clients find and manage the mapping and GIS data production resources for each project. EVC offers a broad range of geospatial raster and vector data from high-resolution DEMs to full vector GIS datasets.


FAOSTAT provides time-series and cross sectional data relating to food and agriculture for some 200 countries. The national version of FAOSTAT, CountrySTAT, is being developed and implemented in a number of target countries, primarily in sub-saharan Africa. It will offer a two-way data exchange facility between countries and FAO as well as a facility to store data at the national and sub-national levels.

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)

IPUMS is a project dedicated to collecting and distributing census data. Its goals are to collect and preserve data and documentation, harmonize data, and disseminate the data absolutely free.


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