A wealth of geospatial data has been developed over the last 30 years, and the discovery and access to that data is still evolving, including our understanding of which data is spatial, which data is authoritative and which is available for unfettered access.
PA Base Map Initiative
The Geoboard Data Program Task Force has continued to build out the core base map themes that were approved by GeoBoard members in December 2016. Following the adoption of the recommended core base map for Pennsylvania, the Data Program Task Force concentrated on identifying the authoritative sources of the base map data and has completed the identification and assimilation of various data sources of the base map layers in their current state. Pennsylvania’s Base Map uses the same categories as defined for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Workgroups have been created to continue the development of the base map themes.
For more information, please contact the GeoBoard.
PA Spatial Data Access (PASDA)
The richest catalog of spatial data is found at the official clearinghouse at Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (psu.edu). This is the source for data more typically associated with GIS, and is documented with FGDC-compliant metadata that makes it suitable for analytical tasks as well as basic display and cartographic uses.
PA Open Data Portal
Much additional information is found at the state’s official Open Data Portal. The site is developing applications that inform simply and the site exemplifies the transparency of operations today.
PA State Data Center
A rich source of demographic data is found at the Pennsylvania State Data Center, partner to the U.S. Census Bureau here in the Commonwealth. It provides data, services, and visualizations based on Census geographies.
Counties produce and maintain important data, and especially site addresses and land ownership information. Each of the 67 counties is autonomous, and data access is variable; some have their own Open Data sites, most have some type of web access or viewer, and many post data for download on PASDA.