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UVa GIS Resources

Geographic Information Science

GIS Data

We maintain large amounts of spatial data and make it available through different mechanisms to help users consume the data.

We work to create aids to help people find, use and obtain data from our collections.  The include our collection of Charlottesville Sanborn Maps and Albemarle historical aerials.

We also help people find data or proxy data.  If you can't find something, let us know!

Discover all sorts of spatial data on Living Atlas. Some data and functionality require a UVA ArcGIS Online account.

You can easily connect to all ArcGIS Online data through ArcGIS Pro too!

Esri Business Analyst (BA) is a complete system for analyzing data to reveal insights and patterns in business. You can perform deep analysis of demographic and consumer data and combine it with your own data to gain greater understanding of your customers, competition, market, and trends. BA can be configured to share data, analyses, and insights.

UVa Library supports and makes availalbe two seperate tools for using BA data.  They are:

  • Business Analyst Desktop
  • Business Analyst Online
  • Business Analyst extension for ArcMap.

Esri's product brochure is available here.

Business Analyst Online

Business Analyst Online (BAO) is an online application hosted by Esri that helps users evaluate potential sites for expansion, consolidation, or investment. Marketing consultants use BAO to gain information about market segments and their demographics in order to create strategic marketing and advertising plans.

 BAO provides users with immediate access to up-to-date demographic, business and market data so they can quickly evaluate business locations and compare markets in order to make more intelligent location-based decisions. BAO delivers this critical information in presentation-ready reports, maps and spreadsheets that are dynamically generated for user-specified locations or trade areas using a myriad of tools. For users who are evaluating unfamiliar markets, interactive color-coded mapping of demographic and consumer data helps to rapidly narrow in on the most opportune market regions.

High-risk, strategic marketing and real estate decisions necessitate very accurate, local data. To generate a report for the specific area of interest, users can select from a list of standard geographies, create a hand-drawn polygon on the map, or specify rings, drive times, or concentric, non-overlapping bands around a specific location. BAO then dynamically aggregates the demographic and market data for the specified region using advanced GIS techniques that provide accurate estimates even for very small geographic areas.

Because BAO is hosted by ESRI, users never have to worry about updating software or data.  Each year, highly-trained demographers, statisticians and economists at ESRI create updated current-year and five-year projections of demographic data.  These updated data are released in Business Analyst Online as soon as it is available so that users have the fast access to critical information in a timely manner.

With Business Analyst Online, you can…

  • Identify new store locations
  • Identify locations for store consolidation
  • Provide information to business considering whether to locate in a specific community
  • Refine marketing strategies and messaging to key market segments
  • Understand the types of customers in a store’s trade area.
  • Find new customers and untapped markets
  • Prove yourself to be a knowledgeable consultant to others trying to make real estate and marketing decisions
Content and reports are available for more than 80 countries across the globe.

Business Analyst Data

Demographic Data

Current-year updates and five-year projections of Esri's Updated Demographics use more than 1,600 variables about population, households, income, housing, and consumer expenditures all at the United States, state, county, ZIP Code, census tract, block group, core-based statistical area, county sub division, place, and congressional district geography levels.  Key Demographic data such as Net Worth, Disposable Income, Detailed Age, and Projected Labor Force is available for over 2,000 variables.

Segmentation Data

Esri's Tapestry Segmentation classifies U.S. neighborhoods into 65 segments based on their socioeconomic and demographic compositions. The market segmentation data is available at the census block level and above.

Consumer Spending

Annually updated data details which products and services consumers buy. Approximately 750 variables in products and services consumers buy are included such as apparel, food, and financial are included. The database provides information about total dollars spent, the average amount spent by household, and a Spending Potential Index (SPI) that compares local average product expenditures to the national average.

Business Data

A national database of nearly 18 million U.S. businesses from Dun & Bradstreet to identify customers and competitors, business data is arranged by business name, industry description or SIC/North American Industry Classification System, sales, employees, and location.  Business Summary data gives you statistics for total number of employees, and number of businesses by SIC Code and NAICS.

Major Shopping Centers

The national database from the Directory of Major Malls, Inc., lists detailed information for more than 6,000 major shopping centers, malls, and lifestyle/specialty centers in the United States. Major shopping centers'variables include center name, gross leasable area, type of center, total retail sales, distance to the nearest competing center, name of and distance to the nearest major city, and total number of stores.

Street Data

NAVTEQ’s high-quality, nationwide street and geocoding databases provide routing attributes and attractive map displays as a single street database source. Business Analyst Desktop includes Esri's geocoder that integrates an address-based approach with more than 80 million residential and commercial U.S. structure addresses from the NAVTEQ Address Points database. This database maps street addresses to a physical location, so each address is a fixed point and not an interpolation from an address range.

Market Potential Data

Over 2,000 items from the Gfk MRI consumer survey are grouped into 16 categories of goods, services, and attitudes to measure the probable demand for a product or service.

The ArcGIS Hub project is an attempt by Esri to provide data from trusted, authoritative data providers for everyone.  Many localities and other government agencies are using this platform.  

The UVa instance of the platform is available here.

The Commonwealth of Virginia creates, maintains and provides access to a large amount of GIS data. 

VGIN - the State's GIS group - creates data access through a data clearinghouse and as web services (  More info on consuming web services here.

Other (quasi) state agencies providing GIS data include: Virginia Economic Development Partnership, DEQ, DCR and VDOT

Social Explorer

Through generous support of the UVa Library, UVa affiliates have access to a great census mapping and data extraction tool, Social Explorer.  You must create an account on SE and access it from on-Grounds or through the VPN.

With SE, you can map all historical US census data as well as business pattern data, US religious census data, US crime data, US health data, Canadian and EU census data and World Bank development indicators.

While SE is somewhat intuitive, extra prompting may be needed.  The SE Help Center has tutorials and a knowledge base to help new users navigate the site.

Census Boundary Files

If you need to take your census data to the desktop, you need census boundary data.  The best source for historic boundaries and easy-to-acquire contemporary boundaries are available through National Historic GIS.  You will have to create an account but it free.

US Elevation, Land Use, Hydrography

Through the National Map, the USGS makes available a large amount of GIS Data.  Not only can you download spatial layers, most of the USGS data is available as web services.

World Elevation

The best worldwide digital elevation models are ASTER datasets available for download from the USGS EarthExplorer:

Historic Maps

David Rumsey, one of the world's leading map collectors, has a majority of his collection online for non commercial use.  Please find his collection here.

The Library of Congress has a large number of high quality map scans - including Civil War and Sanborn maps - available for use here.

World Climate Data

WorldClim has average temperature and precipitation data for years 1970 to 2000.  Data available here.

Country Boundary Data

DIVA-GIS provides multiple administrative levels for most countries.  They also have aerial and climate data resources.

Open Street Map

Worldwide open source GIS data

Best download; Geofabrik

Newberry Library Historic County Boundaries

Includes all historic US county changes.