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Getting Started with GIS

GIS data is widely available for the Finger Lakes area.  The data sources below provide a plethora of GIS layers describing natural resources, geology, and topography.  These layers include but are not limited to:  wetlands, hydrology, land cover, elevation, soils and biological corridors.  Other data layers may include:  political boundaries, parcels, and roads.

The free mapping applications listed below provide aerial photography or satellite imagery along with basic datasets such as roads and political boundaries.  They also include elevation data that adds realism to the maps.  Using the mouse controls, tilt the maps to reveal the lay of the land and better understand how different landscape elements may affect the watershed.

The free GIS software listed below may have a relatively steep learning curve.  Check their respective web sites for turorials, user manuals, and frequently asked questions.  These programs, coupled with GIS data, will allow users create their own maps and perform complex analysis based on their own questions.

GIS Data Sources

Free Mapping Applications

Free GIS Software