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GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. GIS software automates databases and maps to reveal the spatial patterns of data. A Geographic Information System (GIS) lets the user visualize, analyze, query, and interpret data to explore patterns and trends in a map-based context. This information is stored in subject-specific data layers (such as soils, streams, endangered species or pollution hotspots). Multiple map layers are then combined into new derivative layers that show how these different subjects are related to each other geographically.

NRCS uses GIS in our work to analyze resource issues. For example, an analysis areas of valuable farmland most at risk for development would examine the following data layers: sewer and water infrastructure, road density, population growth, zoning regulations, Prime and Statewide rated soils. The results of this analysis would highlight which areas of the state are most vulnerable to conversion of farmland.  In turn, this would inform where to direct funding for farmland preservation. 

Maine Maps

GIS Data Links

NRCS Spatial Data Gateway - The Geospatial Data Gateway (GDG) is the One Stop Source for environmental and natural resources data, at anytime, from anywhere, to anyone. The Gateway allows you to choose your area of interest, browse and select data from our catalog, customize the format, and have it downloaded or shipped on CD or DVD.

Maine Office of GIS Data Catalog - The purpose of this Data Catalog is to provide the public with access to the digital geographic data produced by the State of Maine. Users may use this site to download geographic data and the associated metadata.

Maine GeoLibrary - The mission of the GeoLibrary is to create an electronic gateway to public geographic information, and to expand and promote the value of geographic spatial data through widespread distribution and innovative use for the benefit of Maine's citizens.

USGS The National Map- The National Map is a collaborative effort among the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other Federal, State, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information for the Nation. The geographic information available from The National Map includes orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover. Other types of geographic information can be added within the viewer or brought in with The National Map data into a Geographic Information System to create specific types of maps or map views.

USGS Historical Topographic Maps- A downloadable digital collection (GeoPDF) of historical topographic quadrangles.

Web Soil Survey- Interactive web mapping site for accessing NRCS SSURGO soils data.