Mizzou’s Data-Sharing Service Provides Free Digital Spatial Data and Images to World

Established in 1996, this center is Missouri’s spatial data clearinghouse

Need spatial data? Need aerial imagery? The University of Missouri has got you covered.

The Missouri Spatial Data Information Service, known to Missouri’s GIS professionals as MSDIS, is a data clearinghouse providing free access to layers upon layers of digital spatial data to help generate maps of streets, counties, city boundaries, rivers and nearly anything else you can imagine.

“There is no other resource quite like it in Missouri,” said Tom Vought, senior geographic information system specialist. “The whole point of MSDIS is that it functions as the go-to website for downloading spatial data related to Missouri.”

MSDIS, which was established in 1996 as the geospatial data clearinghouse for the State, has one full-time employee – Vought – and one work-study student. But don’t let its small size confuse you with how BIG the work of the center really is.

“In May 2019, we recorded more than 24,000 hits on our download server alone. That’s just data downloads,” said Vought. “We also maintain two ArcGIS Server installations that we use to manage and maintain interactive map data and imagery services that GIS professionals can connect to remotely rather than downloading data locally. During just the month of May, we saw more than 388,000 hits on the map data server and more than 3.6 million hits on the imagery server.”

MSDIS traffic comes from all over the world, especially for data downloads, but the overwhelming majority of map data and imagery service users are located throughout Missouri. 

The data are generated or funded by various state, local and regional GIS agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Transportation; the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S Census Bureau and more.

For more information, email Vought at msdismail@missouri.edu or visit the MSDIS Website at https://geography.missouri.edu/people/msdis.