GIS Data and scholarly articles – requirements

For those of you doing GIS work and writing up your analysis in a scholarly journal, here is an editorial from The American Naturalist that suggests how you might archive that GIS data.  It seems very reasonable and common sense, and as a librarian, I would be thrilled to be able to have that type of resource to ‘attach’ to the article.

Article Reference:

Am Nat 2010. Vol. 175, pp. 145–146

© 2010 by The University of Chicago.
DOI: 10.1086/650340

Article Link (need subscription, which UCSD has, to view the actual article)

Want to add your GIS data to Google Earth?

If so, check out the details on how to do it and what kind of data you can submit at the Google Map Content Partner Programs at  For geospatial data more particularly, you can go to

Categories: GIS Data, GIS Updates

Where is the Lab’s GIS data? What does the Lab have?

The library’s collection of GIS data is stored on the X drive. The X drive can be accessed from all GIS terminals, BUT not from the SuperStation or DataCruncher or on computers from outside the GIS Lab, including personal laptops. We have an extensive amount of basic GIS data, including countries, provinces, cities, roads/highways, and water. The most commonly used data sets can be found in a ready-to-use format on the X drive. If you are away from the Lab, you can perform a “form/genre” search of the UCSD Library catalog for ‘gis data’ to see if we have the data you are interested in.

Additional data is available on the Lab’s collection of CDs and DVDs, and in numerous locations on the Web. Just ask the GIS Lab staff for help!

I have data/a custom layer on the computer, but I can’t find it or add it to my map!

Don’t panic! Here are steps to make sure you will be able to add the layer to a map.

1. Is ArcMap connected to the drive or folder the data is in? If not, click the “Connect To” icon to locate the file folder.

2. Is your data in an ArcMap-usable format? For example, if it’s in a spreadsheet, it should be in .csv, .txt, .dbf, or .xls (Excel 2003). Rasters, layers, and other data types also must be converted to usable formats.

3. Is your data still zipped? Downloads which are zipped must be extracted and saved in an unzipped format before use in ArcMap.

4. Can you preview the data in ArcCatalog? If not, it probably won’t work in ArcMap.

I have my own data in a table! How can I use it?

Great! The easiest way to do this is to join it to an existing geographic data layer, but you have to do a few things first…

· Make sure one of the fields in your table matches an existing field in the geographic layer identically (case and spaces matter).

· Save your spreadsheet as a .csv or .xls (Excel 2003 file).

· Use “Add data” to add your table to ArcMap.

· Finally, use the join function by right-clicking on the layer name and going to join, then clicking on “Add Join” to connect your table to the layer on the map.

Do you have the specific data I need? If not, how can I find it?

While we have a good set of GIS data, chances are we may not have the super specialized information you are looking for… (but be sure to look in the X drive, the Lab’s collection of CD/DVD resources, search the Library catalog, or ask, because we just may!).

Other places to look for data include the US Census Bureau, Federal, state, and county agencies, as well as statistical bureaus of many nations. See the GIS resources page we created at delicious.comgis_resources for specific links.

There are many many other places to look for resources to find your data. Just ask…oh, and we can also help you use this data in ArcGIS.

What if the X Drive is not connected?

Sometimes, upon logon, the X drive does not appear in My computer and you cannot access any of its files through the ESRI Arc Suite.

To remedy this go to My Computer. Click Tools, and from the pull down select Map Network Drive. In the new window that appears Choose X: for the drive letter. Type in \adlibadgisdata for folder. Check the box for “Reconnect at logon

Click Finish

If you are prompted to enter a user name, it is gis . If you must enter a password, use the same password you used to logon to this lab machine.

Now you are connected to the X drive. Remember you may need to Connect to Folder in the Arc software to view the files.

Can I just use all the GIS data I want, anyway I want?

No! Like all the other information in the UCSD Libraries, the GIS data is subject to copyright laws and limitations on usage.

Our GIS data comes from a variety of sources. Specific restrictions can be found in each layer’s metadata. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to read the metadata for each data layer so that you can respect the license restrictions on the data, understand its unique spatial and attribute characteristics, and give proper attribution to the data provider.

In no case shall any of this data be used by anyone not a part of the UCSD community, nor shall any of this data be used for a commercial purpose. There may be additional restrictions on data as noted in the metadata for each data layer, and you can read the ‘Important Notes re UCSD Data Server’ document on the X drive for further details.

If you have any questions, please contact Tracey Hughes, GIS Coordinator, at

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