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GIS for Journalism: Data

This guide connects members of the Morgan Community with GIS resources for Journalism

Data Sources for Journalism

Because the scope and content of journalism is so broad, the range of possible data needed to tell a story is extensive.  In some cases journalists may even need to create their own data to make a map responsive to the needs of their readers.  However there are some very general data sources like census data and state and local data sources that can be used to get started.  A lot of data sources have pre-made maps that can be incorporated into news like the CDC Weekly Influenza map.  Please see the Library's main GIS page to see data sources in other disciplines.


Census Data

U. S. Census Bureau (  This is the main resource for census data from the U. S. Census Bureau, and contains census data and spatial data from the Decennial census and the American Community Survey, form about 2000 to present.  The census contains general health and healthcare accessibility data especially in the ACS.

National Historical GIS [NHGIS] (via IPUMS at the Univ. of Minnesota)  One of the best sources of Census data.  Contains Decennial Census and American Community Survey data, along with special census like the Religious bodies census, state and local census data and more from 1790 to present.

Maryland State and Local Resources

  • Maryland

MD iMap Maryland's main portal for GIS data generated by state and other sources.  This resource contains Spatial data for a wide range of topics, including health and healthcare access.

  • Baltimore

Baltimore Open City GIS Data is Baltimore's public platform for exploring and downloading open data, discovering and building apps, and engaging to solve important local issues.  Analyze and combine Open Datasets using maps, as well as develop new web and mobile applications. 

Other Data Sources is the Federal Government's main open data portal.  Here you can find extensive sources for GIS and other data.  Much of the data is user-generated during federally funded research.

ICPSR is an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations and maintains a data archive  of more than 250,000 files relating to research in the social and behavioral sciences. The archive contains 21 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

The General Social Survey (GSS) studies the growing complexity of American society. It is the only full-probability, personal-interview survey designed to monitor changes in both social characteristics and attitudes currently being conducted in the United States.

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