It is difficult to point to a single, “best” roads dataset for Wisconsin. While the Wisconsin DOT does maintain roads data, many GIS users who have statewide or regional needs opt to use data from the Open Street Map (OSM) project, or the U.S. Census Bureau. For local government roads, start with GeoData@Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation maintains a statewide roads database called “WISLR,” but the primary function of that dataset is for pavement condition monitoring. WISLR does not have address ranges associated with the vectors, and it does not include private roads or roads in recreational areas. Many users find Open Street Map (OSM) to be a comprehensive, easy-to-use alternative to WISLRS.
Many local governments in Wisconsin maintain their own roads layers. In many cases these data are more spatially accurate than other national or statewide sources, but attributes will vary considerably between jurisdictions. Check for locally-produced data first if your area of interest is limited to a single city or county.
Wisconsin GIS users with state or regional needs often start with OSM or Census roads data.
- How to extract data from Open Street Map
- App: Open Street Map viewer
- Download Census TIGER/Line Roads (FTP or Web Interface options)
If you are having trouble locating roads data in Wisconsin or need further help, please contact us via e-Mail or at (608) 262-3065.