Through the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP), geospatial data from Wisconsin counties is collected each spring in support of statewide data integration, benchmarking and archiving. In 2018, counties submitted parcel data – now available through the Parcel Data Initiative project page – as well as address points, buildings, hydrography, land use, roads, right-of-ways, parks, recreation, and trails. All data submitted by counties are now available for public download on the GeoData@Wisconsin geoportal.
GeoData@Wisconsin is designed to provide single-source discovery and access to Wisconsin geospatial data, combining an intuitive map-based search interface with traditional text-based search capabilities. While originally created to serve university researchers and students, with restricted access to many datasets as a result of county data licensing requiremements, GeoData@Wisconsin now contains nearly 1,500 open datasets accessible to any user.
GeoData@Wisconsin was developed by the Robinson Map Library and the Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office (SCO) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Map Library and SCO maintain the geoportal using internal resources. Providing public access to geospatial data is an integral part of the mission of the Map Library and SCO, and aligns with the “Wisconsin Idea” linking the university to citizens’ lives throughout the state.
Wisconsin County Data
All 2018 data submitted by counties has been archived for long-term preservation at the Robinson Library. Publication datasets were created from the data by combining similar features into downloadable files. Including parcels, the 2018 data management process produced a total of 446 unique Wisconsin county datasets that are discoverable and available for public download on GeoData@Wisconsin.
All downloadable datasets are documented with complete metadata. Student assistants in the Library worked for five months (April-September, 2018) to write metadata for each dataset in both FGDC and ISO formats. Metadata is directly viewable in GeoData@Wisconsin so that users can find out more about the data before they download it.
More Data Now Public
When it was first released in 2014, data linked from GeoData@Wisconsin was primarily restricted to higher education users in the state. Fast forward to today, and the geoportal now contains 1,486 public datasets that may be downloaded for free by any user. Our next project will be opening up much of the restricted data (1,130 additional datasets) for public download. Permission to do this was granted by most counties last spring.
To browse Wisconsin geospatial data, visit geodata.wisc.edu.