15 Free Geographic Datasets for Machine Learning

Article by Alex Nguyen | August 15, 2019

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is designed to capture, store, manipulate and present geospatial data. Machine learning is increasingly being used in conjunction with GIS for a number of exciting potential benefits, such as optimizing traffic management or ride sharing applications. All location-based software are created using a large foundation of structured geospatial data.

Luckily, there are a number of great sources for public geographic data free for anyone looking to build or train geographic information systems. To help, we at Lionbridge have curated a list of the 15 best publicly available geographic data sources.


Geographic Datasets for GIS

Natural Earth Data: A free raster and vector data package containing the most common elements that you need to create a map. The data contains most major map features (cultural, physical and raster) in an aesthetically pleasing format.

Global Map: Produced by the International Steering Committee on Global Mapping, Global Map features a set of GIS layers covering the whole globe. It offers information on transportation, elevation, drainage, vegetation, land use and population.

ArcGIS Open Data: An open data portal that allows access to 230,981 publicly available GIS data sets from 2,601 organizations worldwide.

Google-Landmarks Dataset: Published as part of the Google Landmark Recognition Challenge, this dataset contains test images, training images and index images of world landmarks. It is divided into two categories to evaluate computer vision tasks for recognition and retrieval.

UNEP GEO data: From the United Nations Environment Programme, this online database includes over 500 different variables, as national, subregional, regional and global statistics or as geospatial data sets

ONS Geography Portal: The Open Geography portal provides free and open access of all kinds.

USGS Historical Topographic Maps: Electronic copies of USGS Topographic Maps from the last 125 years provided in GeoPDF format.

DIVA-GIS Country Data: This includes country-specific geographic data collected from a number of sources. Using the website, you can select and download simple geographic (GIS) data for any country in the world.

Natural Earth: A great source of global boundary data as well as a great source of contextual data for base maps.

National Geophysical Data Center: List of all free data including elevation models, land cover, seismology and more.

Global Multi-Resolution Topography: Gridded elevation at approximately 100m resolution, covering terrestrial and sea-floor topography.

SRTM: Elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission for most of the world.

North American Environmental Atlas: Environmental data for the whole of the North American continent, including land cover, pollution, climate, ecosystems, human influence and protected species, in raster and vector formats.

GDEM: 30m resolution global elevation data derived from ASTER satellite images.

OpenTopography: A site that provides free access to high-resolution topography data as dense point clouds and processed DEMs.


Still can’t find what you need? If you’re looking for custom datasets for geographic information systems or other AI training data, get in touch with our sales team. At Lionbridge, we can use our crowd of 500,000 experts to help you get the machine learning data you need to effectively train your model.

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The Author
Alex Nguyen

Alex manages content production for Lionbridge’s marketing team. Originally from San Francisco but based in Tokyo, she loves all things culture and design. When not at Lionbridge, she’s likely brushing up on her Japanese, letting loose at indie electronic shows or trying out new ice cream spots in the city.


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