The base layers we're including are boundaries, cities/towns, roads, water features, and buildings (Carleton and Ottawa only), which are what you'd generally want in a nice basemap. The datasets are organized by geography and those available only to Carleton community members are indicated by a Carleton logo.

Looking for elevation contours? Check out our Contours and Elevation Data page.

Base layers for Carleton Campus | Ottawa-Gatineau | Ontario | Canada | USA | World


Carleton Campus Resource available to Carleton University students, faculty and staff only

Ottawa-Gatineau

Ontario 

If you're looking for a specific city or region, check if it has an open data site and, if so, search there first.

You may also find provincial-level datasets in the Natural Resources Canada products listed below.

Canada

If you're looking for a specific province or territory, check if it has an open data site and, if so, search there first.

United States of America

If you're looking for a specific state or region, check if it has an open data site and, if so, search there first.

  • Shapefiles
    • An easy one-stop shop is the US Geological Survey
      • Go to The National Map
      • In the list, select Small-scale Datasets
      • Check off what you need (e.g.: boundaries, contours, hydrography, transportation) with Data Extent: National
      • Click the Find Products button
      • You'll get a list of dozens of datasets, but search for contours, cities, roads, etc., and it'll reduce the list and you can download what you'd like
    • If all you want is State boundaries - US Census Bureau
    • Historical US shapefiles from NHGIS

The World

If you're looking for a specific country or region, check if it has an open data site and, if so, search there first.

  • Shapefiles at individual country level
    • Diva-GIS provides administrative areas, elevation, inland water (rivers and lakes), and roads.
  • Shapefiles at continental/global level
  • OpenStreetMap has data downloadable for cities, regions, countries, and the entire globe
  • Historical country shapefiles
    • cshapes has countries and their boundary changes since 1945.
    • Historic.zip has country boundaries intermittently from 2000 BC until 1945. According to the message thread, it is not entirely accurate so please use it as a starting point. It also looks best at a global or continental level.