[Freegis-list] Re: Free data sources wanted

Gabriel Ebner ge at gabrielebner.at
Fri Feb 11 18:14:01 CET 2005

Brian Wilson <bwilson at clickshift.com> writes:

> Outside US I can understand why I can't get good data for areas where
> there is not much infrastructure (say Belize) -- it does not exist or
> is "classified" by their gov but where is free downloadable data for
> Europe? According my carto teacher it's all copyrighted and locked
> away...  please please prove him wrong and send me your URL's!  Just a
> portal site would be fine.

You're right.  It's not as if there were no spatial data available for
Europe, it's just that almost none of it is free, not to mention Free.

To my knowledge, the only free street-level dataset in Europe covers
only Osnabrück: http://frida.intevation.org/

vmap0 is the other free vector dataset I know of.  It's from the US
but covers all of Europe (and for that matter pretty much the whole
world) with major roads, administrative boundaries, lakes, etc. with a
mean accuracy of 2km.

Then there's also GSHHS, a high-resolution shoreline database for the
whole world.  http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/shorelines/gshhs.html

There's a bit more raster data available:

Landsat 7 data (around 14x14m resolution):

Blue marble (from MODIS, 1x1km resolution, but true color):

Apparently there's a Blue Marble NG dataset (at 500x500m resolution)
too (http://www.iac.ethz.ch/staff/stockli/bmng/), but I couldn't find
any links to the data.

The EC is currently working at adopting a so called "INSPIRE
directive", which enforces the current practices (i.e. the data is
copyrighted and expensive, although the public has a right to "view"
the data)
http://inspire.jrc.it/ (This site can be a bit misleading sometimes,
you'd better read the full proposal, especially article 20.)

To get a taste of the EC handles spatial data today, take a look at
http://image2000.jrc.it/i2000/ (ortho-rectified Landsat 7 images):

,----[ http://image2000.jrc.it/i2000/i2000-faq.html ]
| Q. Can I pass the data to anyone else?
| A. Absolutely not. The data are provided to you as a registered
| user. Even if an immediate colleague wishes to use the data, they
| should register also and request the imagery. Any circulation of the
| data is prohibited by the terms and conditions, and remember that
| these data are strictly for non-commercial uses.


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