Web-based mapping

  • Neighborhood Scout maps real estate, school, crime data and more for U.S. cities and neighborhoods.
  • Policy Map has powerful interactive mapping tools. U.S. Census and home lending data free with registration.
  • Social Explorer: Detailed demographic data for U.S. from 1790 to present, some requires subscription.
  • GeoCommons provides free data, including demographics and a web-based mapping application.
  • ESRI’s Mapping For Everyone site has free map layer and tools to construct web-based maps.

Sources of data for free download
Usage restrictions may apply

Data for Licensing and Purchase

  • Location Inc (Neighborhood Scout) licenses education, crime and real estate data and more
  • Geolytics – Custom demographic data in the shapefile format
  • ESRI Data – Updated U.S. demographic data, business and consumer data and more.
  • Policy Map compiles makes many useful data sources available to paid subscribers.



Quantum GIS

Open source solution for mapping and manipulating spatial data in a variety of formats. PC, Mac, Unix and more versions. Plug-ins available for some types of spatial analysis.

  • QGIS site
  • I recommend downloading the stable version
  • QGIS user guide
  • QGIS combo with GRASS for mac:
  • fTools plug ins for spatial analysis

Open source program for spatial analysis

Powerful GIS for Windows. Easy to use tools for spatial statistics are available.

  • ESRI home page, with links to resources for digital maps, data sets, utilities, courses, etc.:
  • CSISS page of ArcGIS cookbook tutorials

Other software providers



  • Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS) main site, especially its learning materials, syllabi and search engine site, with a specialized tools search engine, links to portals and selected links to specific software
  • Center for Environmental Statistics Software Links: Center for Environmental Statistics Software Links
  • OpenGeo, part of The Open Planning Project offers support for open source GIS software, especially for local government and planning