Skip Navigation


GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. GIS software automates databases and maps to reveal the spatial patterns of data. 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 area 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.

Below are some sources for GIS data and tools.

The Geospatial Data Gateway (GDG) provides access to a map library of over 100 high resolution vector and raster layers in the Geospatial Data Warehouse. It is the One Stop Source for environmental and natural resources data, at any time, from anywhere, to anyone. It allows you to choose your area of interest, browse and select data, customize the format, then review and download.

MapWV is a public gateway managed by the WV State GIS Technical Center to online mapping resources in West Virginia. It allows user access to a wealth of high-quality maps and geographic data via the Internet. All their maps are free for use by the public.

WV State GIS Data Clearinghouse – managed by the WV State GIS Technical Center to catalog and distribute GIS spatial data and information free-of-charge.

The WVDEP provides download services for GIS data developed or maintained in-house. Data is available as shapefiles or file geodatabases. Lidar data is available as LAS files. Most vector data is updated daily Monday-Friday.