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Syracuse University Libraries

GEO 383/683 - Geographic Information Systems (FALL 2020): Types of GIS data

Guide to help locate needed geospatial resources on the web.

What is Numeric data

Data table

Numeric data is statistical data which includes a geographical component or field that can be joined with vector files so the data can be queried and displayed as a map in a GIS. The most common type of numeric data is demographic data from the US Census.

What is Vector data

Vector data layer file

Vector data is data that has a spatial component, or X,Y coordinates assigned to it. Vector files can contain sets of points, lines, or polygons that are referenced in a geographic space.

Layers in a GIS

An example of data layers that can be used in a GIS

This is a schematic of the various types of layers that can be used in a GIS.

What is Raster data

Raster image file

Raster data is data in a .JPG, .TIF, .GIF or similar format. Items scanned using a flatbed scanner like this map are examples of raster files. Images taken with a digital camera produce these same types of files.

All Elements Together

Vector, data and raster layers combined

Polygons (properties), lines (streets), points (trees) and raster images (air photo) are integrated into one map.