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National Data Sources
Demographic data from the US Census and American Community Survey, offered as tables (and some shapefiles with added data) ready for import into GIS software
Geospatial Data Gateway
Offers environmental and natural resources data and free use of maps
Provides georeferenced HOLC maps of US cities along with corresponding shapefiles and GeoJSON files pertaining to redlining in the US
Physical geographic information is stored in the National Atlas, such as land cover, hydrography, orthoimagery and elevation data.
National Geophysical Data Center
Resources on bathymetry and topography
Spatial Humanities: Step by Step
Tutorials and guides to getting things done in teaching and research with spatial tools and resources.
US Census TIGER Products
The US Census stores its spatial data in a "Master Address File and Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system" (MAF/TIGER). Researchers may download limited extracts from this database as shapefiles to use in GIS software or GIS applications. This is a very easy way to obtain (vector) shapes, which can be joined with regular data tables (such as those from Fact Finder) to generate maps that include quantitative information.
Updating List of Federal, State, County, and City GIS Servers