While much GIS data can now be found online through a common internet search engine, the sites listed below are dependable, trustworthy sources of high-quality GIS data


Maine Office of GIS Data Catalog: GIS Data for the state of Maine; primarily vector data but also some tables are raster datasets

Digital Atlas: Teaching tool available to all members of the University of Southern Maine community. Building on data from MEGIS and others, it was compiled and developed by USM Geographic Information Systems through the efforts of Matthew Bampton, Matthew Cadwallader, Jay Desmond, Sean Neely, and Michele Tranes.

MEDOT CORS Data: Locations of CORS (Continuously Operating Reference Stations) in Maine.

Osher Map Library collection Search:  Inventory of Online Resources from the Osher Map Library


Maine Department of Environmental Protection:  Access to Maine DEP GIS data.  It is a mix of Google Earth and Shapefile formats.

GOS – Geospatial One Stop: Federal, State, and Local geographic data on a wide variety of topics

The National Map Small-Scale Collection (formerly National Atlas): Vector, raster, and tabular data for the United States on a wide variety of topics

Geospatial Data Gateway: Elevation, imagery, soils data, and climate data for the United States

The National Map Download Viewer: Elevation, land cover, and other GIS data for the United States

American Fact Finder: Access to a wide variety of Census data for the United States; primarily tabular datasets

NOAA NGS CORS: National Locations of CORS


United Nations Environment Programme Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Data Portal: Vector and Raster data at the national, regional, and global scales

USGS Global Visualization Viewer: Landsat, ASTER, MODIS data among others; a reproduction fee is required for some datasets

USGS Earth Explorer: Satellite imagery and aerial photography, including Hyperion and ALI; a reproduction fee is required for some datasets

GLCF: Global Land Cover Facility: Satellite imagery and products derived from satellite imagery, e.g. Landsat, ASTER, etc.

There are many GIS Tools available online. Some tools produce output based on data entered by the user. Other tools are data viewers or interactive maps. Listed below are the tools that are often used by students working in the GIS Lab.

  • Batch Geocode: a tool that takes user-entered street addresses and outputs the latitude and longitude of those addresses in a table. After some minor formatting, users can view the locations in ArcMap. Alternatively, users can save their locations as .KML files for display in GoogleEarth.
  • NGS Geodetic Tool Kit: a suite of tools hosted by the National Geodetic Survey includes links to the GPS processing tool OPUS, the latest geoid models, and cooridate converters such as NADCON and VERTCON.
  • National Map Viewer: a map viewer hosted by USGS. It displays national environmental and infrastructure data. The user may also create a printable map.
  • National Atlas Map Maker: a map viewer that displays many of the datasets available from the National Atlas. Like the National Map Viewer, the National Atlas Map Maker also allows the user to create a printable map.
  • Maine Office of GIS Aerial Photo Viewer: a map viewer that displays aerial photos for the state of Maine. Users may download data from this site.
  • Maine Office of GIS Interactive Maps: a series of additional map viewers for the state of Maine. Datasets include general basemap, wetland habitat, and wireless service.
  • EPA Enviromapper: an interactive mapping tool hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency that includes access to many environmental datasets. Users may create a printable map.
  • NOAA NGS OPUS: The Online Positioning User Service provides simplified access to National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) Coordinates.

Data collection is an integral part of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS Lab has a suite of field mapping equipment capable of collecting data at a wide range of accuracies. The equipment is available for loan within the USM Community.  Contact the lab for specific details or to make borrowing arrangements.

Garmin GPS units (6): The Garmin GPS units are termed recreation-grade because they can collect points with an accuracy of about 5 meters. These are used for GPS demonstrations, geocaching, and data collection where high accuracy is not required. These units are available to anyone who has attended a brief training with the GIS Lab Manager.

GPS-enabled PDAs running field GIS software (6): These are the newest addition to the Lab’s resources. They are a streamlined alternative to traditional data collection. They are used in the Digital Mapping Class as well as by guest lectures in non-GIS courses. These units are available to anyone who has attended a brief training with the GIS Lab Manager.

Trimble GeoXTs (6): The GeoXTs are termed mapping-grade because they can collect data with an accuracy better than 1 meter with post-processing. These units are often borrowed for field projects and available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. 

SpectraPrecision Total Stations (3): These high precision instruments can accurately measure locations to within centimeters. They are heavily used by the Digital Mapping Class. These units are available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. In addition, a member of the Lab Staff will accompany the equipment into the field.

Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS (3): The RTK units are termed survey-grade because they can measure locations with an accuracy of centimeters with no postprocessing required. They too are used by  the Digital Mapping Class. These units are available to anyone who has taken a GIS Course. In addition, a member of the Lab Staff will accompany the equipment into the field.

NOAA NGS CORS : Access to CORS data

Because the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab is a University Resource, the software is available to all members of the University Community.

Thanks to the terms of a site license with ESRI, the GIS software ArcGIS is available in all student computer labs, as well as the GIS Lab. Another benefit of the site license is that registered students, faculty, and staff may take classes at ESRI’s Virtual Campus. These are online GIS courses on a variety of topics. The list of qualifying courses is available at the ESRI website. Contact the GIS Lab if you are interested in taking a Virtual Campus course.

In addition to ArcGIS, the computers in the GIS Lab are equipped with the following specialized, licensed software that is available in few other places on campus.

  • ERDAS Imagine and Photogrammetry Suite
  • Trimble Pathfinder Office

Additionally, the lab has a variety of open source software packages installed and regularly updated. These offer students additional options beyond the conventional packages. These include:

  • Google Earth
  • DNR Garmin (GPS software for handheld GPS units)
  • Quantum GIS
  • PointVue LE (Lidar processing utility)


USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is always looking for students with Federal Work-Study funding who are interested in working at the GIS Lab. No experience is necessary. Responsibilities include supervising the lab when it is open, helping users with system and software operation, and helping the lab manager with system maintenance. Work study students with some GIS experience help develop and test course modules and workshops, troubleshoot software issues, and assist in research.

Student Employment

Occasionally, USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will have funding related to grants or consulting projects that is available for student workers. This funding is not based on Federal Work-Study, so it is available to any student. Generally, at least one or two semesters of experience with GIS or Remote Sensing is required for these positions.

If you wish to be considered for work study or to be notified of non-work study student employment opportunities at USM Geographic Information Systems (GIS), please send your resume to the GIS Lab Manager.  Please include a list of the courses you have taken and whether or not you are eligible for work study funds.  If you are unsure if you have work study funds, contact student financial aid.

Bulletin Board

Postings of GIS related employment opportunities in New England and elsewhere are on the bulletin board outside the lab at 302 Bailey hall.   Check it out if you’re looking for a job!


  • GISjobs.com
    Search GIS classified ads by job title and by software title. The salary survey helps seekers know what average salaries are for their field, experience, and geographic location. GIS professionals may post their resume or contract services online for a small fee.
  • The GIS Jobs Clearinghouse (GJC)
    Search for GIS jobs by keyword or sort the full list alphabetically by posting date, title, organization, or location. Seekers can also browse jobs on a map.
  • GIScareers.com
    Sort jobs by country, state, and type. Users may post and view resumes for free.
  • GeoSearch, Inc
    Search GIS jobs by location, field, or keyword. Seekers may create a profile that is visible to potential employers. Valuable section on tips for interviewing and resume writing under “GIS Resources”.
  • Geojobs.org
    Browse jobs by date posted. Create an account to post your resume. Includes a section on resume writing tips.
  • GIS Gig
    Search jobs by keyword, category, or date posted. Seekers can sign up to receive email updates when new jobs are added to the list.