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Data 101: Geospatial

In this LibGuide, we introduce you to the wide world of data, including data types (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, geospatial, etc.), finding data, visualizing data, and managing data.

                                                                     Image Description: A satellite image of a city at night.

Spatial is Special!

Geospatial data involves objects, events, and phenomena that have a location on Earth's surface. Therefore, the data have locational aspects tied to them, such as coordinates, addresses, city, and/or ZIP code. These data can exist at a variety of scales, from geospatial data of your neighborhood, for the state of Pennsylvania, and even for the entire globe. They can represent a static point in time, or several points in time. Some examples include: 

  • A collection of points signifying the location of park benches in a city 
  • A route demonstrating the shortest distance between two points at opposite ends of a town 
  • Locations of car accidents within 200 feet of a bar

LibGuide for Spatial Data

While this page is meant to be a general introduction to geospatial data, did you know we have an entire LibGuide dedicated to geospatial data? Created by liaison librarian Jessica Benner, this guide provides information on finding and using geospatial data for research. Check it out here:


Introduction to Spatial Data

Additional Resources


Credits and Acknowledgements

Banner image courtesy of NASA on Unsplash, found here: Design made in Canva.

Image in "LibGuide for Spatial Data" courtesy of Max Bottinger on Unsplash, found here: