Global Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


Global GIS is a collection of geospatial data produced by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri). This resource contains public domain geospatial data covering the globe at a scale of 1:1 million. This resource covers a wide variety of features, from topographic data, to government boundaries, to population and geology. For a more detailed description, please consult the Global GIS webpage.

Spatial reference and data type

These data sets are available in geographic co-ordinates. These data are stored as Esri shapefiles. Other data formats can be accommodated, as the Geospatial Centre has access to a number of conversion utilities.

Data access

In order to access these data sets, please visit the Geospatial Centre reference desk between the hours of 10:0 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, in the Dana Porter Library, Room 328. Library reference staff are available to provide further information about these data sets and to deliver data upon request. Under the terms of the library's license agreement, these data sets are for use by students, faculty, and staff at the University of Waterloo only.

Data manipulation

There are public workstations in the Geospatial Centre that provide access to GIS software, program extensions and data manipulation utilities. Patrons may use the GIS software in the library to view and manipulate the data. UWaterloo faculty, students and staff may copy these data to other media (Zip disk or CD-R) for use elsewhere.

Data output

These data may be exported from the GIS software as a bitmapped image (e.g. jpg) or may be printed as a map view using one of the library's colour printers.

Use restrictions/licensing/copyright

This material is provided for academic, research, teaching, and personal use only. A data release agreement must be signed before the data is delivered. Esri should be acknowledged on any derivative product, such as a map or an image.


Esri Global GIS [computer file]. Redlands, California: Environmental Systems Research Institute, [2003].

Sample view of the data

earthquakes in new zealand greater than 5.5 richter (JPEG)