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The US National Atlas Website

I’m never quite sure what to make of the US Government’s National Atlas website. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the site, but that’s as much a function of the serendipitous nature of the maps and data you can stumble across as it is its utility. I don’t know that I’d send someone there to look for a specific set of data, since the datasets and categorization are all over the place. But it’s a fun site to poke around in. Among the stuff you can find:

  • GIS-ready data in shapefile, DBF, SDTS-TVP and GeoTiff formats, covering a wide variety of topics both pedestrian (census demographic data, water bodies) and exotic (maps of butterfly distribution; magnetic field intensity)
  • An onsite MapMaker that lets you browse through information about different datasets, and then plot them interactively for export or printing


Distribution of Strecker’s Giant-Skipper butterfly in MapMaker

You may not find exactly what you’re looking for at this site, but it’s worth checking out just to see what they have.

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