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CUGIR FAQ

TitleDescription
Can I get information or maps relating to property ownership (parcel), regulation and permits from CUGIR?CUGIR does not have an extensive collection of planning related data sets, though it does include some for Tompkins County. Try contacting the planning agency for the county or local government you are interested in. The NYS Office of Real Property Services and NYS GIS Clearinghouse may also be helpful.
Can I order a CD or DVD of a selection of your data?Because our data is freely available online, we don't burn data to disk for users. CUGIR users do have the option of downloading multiple files at once (120MB limit).
Can I purchase topographic maps from CUGIR?CUGIR only offers Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) files, scanned topographic maps. Those in the CUGIR collection have had their collars and legends cropped out to facilitate use in a GIS. These and all other data sets are freely available to anyone to download (and print) from our site. Unfortunately, we don't provide paper copies of datasets. You may order paper copies of maps from the USGS Store. The USGS also offers free "GeoPDF" copies of topo maps from the USGS Store using the Map Locator. If you are looking for NYS DRGs with map collars and legends intact, the NYS GIS Clearinghouse has them.
Can you tell me more about the attribute table field codes and what they represent (e.g. for Census data)?

The metadata associated with a data file will many times include information related to attributes values, codes and methods for derivation. You should also find information on where to go for more documentation or who to contact with questions.

Two sources of additional information on Census data are:

Do you have building footprint and location maps?Our repository only contains a few building and infrastructure datasets, mostly limited to Tompkins County. You might try contacting the local or county planning department for the area you are interested in.
Do you have contour maps/data (e.g. DLG)?CUGIR does not currently offer contour data in a vector format (e.g. Digital Line Graph, or DLG), but you can generate contours from DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) with some programs. Our DRG (Digital Raster Graphic) data does include contour lines in a raster image format. Please consult the help or manuals for the software being used for assistance.
Do you have flood or other hazard related maps and data?

We do not have flood or hazard related data in our repository. County-wide data are available from the New York State GIS Clearinghouse. Maps can also be viewed and ordered from the FEMA Map Service at http://msc.fema.gov/. Portions of flood maps (called FIRMettes) can be extracted, saved and printed for free using the FEMA MSC Viewer.

Do you have the most recent versions of TIGER/LINE files from the US Census Bureau?The US Census bureau releases frequent updates to its TIGER/LINE files. Beginning with the 2000 census, CUGIR adopted a policy of only providing decadal updates to census data sets, with selected demographic data from the census short-form (SF 1). Data users who need the most current TIGER/LINE files are encouraged to obtain data directly from the Census Bureau website.
Do you have zip code data?

CUGIR has zip code boundaries for Tompkins County only.

The NYS GIS Clearinghouse has NYS Zip Codes, a point and vector boundary file of zip codes in New York State.

The census approximates zip code areas with their zip code tabulations areas (ZCTAs). ZCTAs can be downloaded from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 TIGER/Line Shapefiles website.

Does CUGIR offer a FTP method for downloading large volumes/areas of CUGIR data at once?We do not offer FTP access to data, nor are we likely to offer that because of security reasons. We do offer the means for downloading multiple files zipped together in a single download however (120MB limit). See the CUGIR Help section on Selecting and Downloading Data from CUGIR for more information.
How can I contribute data to CUGIR?We are always looking for new and useful data to include in the CUGIR collection. You may contact the Project Manager, Keith Jenkins at kgj2@cornell.edu for more information.
How can I create a printable map on your website?

The CUGIR web mapping application is temporarily unavailable as a result of a hardware failure. We don't know when we'll have these services up and running again, and apologize for the inconvenience.

If you do not have GIS software available, another option for creating maps is to download the data you want to map, and find a free software application that will allow you to create your own. You can find a list of links in our GIS Tools: Freeware and Shareware section of CUGIR help.

How do I find out which quad includes data for the area I am interested in (e.g. by town name)?You can use the Browse by Map option for finding quad data. First zoom into the county you are interested in, then look at the underlying town boundaries to orient yourself. Click on the quad that covers the area needed, and you will be brought to a list of all data available for that geographic region. CUGIR also offers a method of searching using USGS Geographic Names Information System gazetteer data for New York State. In the upper right search box enter the place name for the area you are interested in. You may also do a geographic features search using the more options link below the search box.
How do I view/import a DEM file?In order to import and view DEMs, some software applications (e.g. ArcInfo and ArcGIS) require a conversion step first. Please see the File Formats and GIS Software Compatibility section of CUGIR help.
I am having trouble opening a .z/.gz/.zip/.tar file. Can you help?Compressed files need to be uncompressed before they can be viewed or imported into a GIS. Please see the Compressed Files section of CUGIR Help.
I am looking for public lands boundary data. Do you have this?The NYS GIS Clearinghouse has some data on New York State public land boundaries. Some data sets are available only to members of the data cooperative, so you may need to contact the data owner directly. Cornell community members can use the Contact CUGIR form to request assistance from Mann Library in obtaining this data.
I am looking for SSURGO soils data for an area that does not appear to currently be available. Any idea of when this will be ready?SSURGO data digitizing and updating is ongoing. A Soil Data Availability map is available from the NRCS. CUGIR periodically checks for SSURGO updates to see if there are any new additions. For the most recent list of available data sets, check the NRCS Soil Data Mart site. If your area of interest is still not covered, you can use the STATSGO generalized statewide soils coverage available from CUGIR, if that meets your needs.
I can't open/import an .e00 file. What is the problem?Files with an .e00 extension are in Arc Interchange, or Export format. Some GIS software requires a separate conversion process before the contents can be successfully viewed or imported. Please see the e00 Data Formats or File Formats and GIS Software Compatibility section in CUGIR help.
I need data that covers an area along the New York border, but can't find on your web site. Where I can get this data?Much of the data we receive for CUGIR comes from New York state agencies that are focused on New York State. In some cases the data files are missing areas that fall outside of or along the state borders. You may be able to find data covering these missing sections from neighboring states data repositories. A list of these can be found at geolode.org.
What are "Minor Civil Divisions"?Minor civil divisions (MCDs) are the primary governmental or administrative divisions of a county. In New York State this includes towns. More information can be found on the Census Bureau's "Understanding Census Geography" web page.
What is an RSS feed and how do I subscribe to CUGIR news announcements?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds allow you to subscribe to news about the latest CUGIR updates. Popular feed readers include Google Reader; others are listed at Wikipedia's Comparison of feed aggregators.

To add CUGIR news to your RSS reader, copy the URL of the CUGIR news feed, and add it as a new subscription in your feed reader.

Where can I find aerial or satellite photos or images?

CUGIR doesn't have aerial photos or other types of imagery in its collection. Some options for air photos and orthoimagery include:

Where can I find bathymetry data?CUGIR does not currently offer bathymetric data. The NY Ocean and Great Lake Atlas at http://nyoglatlas.org/ is one place to find ocean and Great Lakes area data. Zoom into the area you are interested in and select/open the Elevation layer to see and download available data. NOAA also offers data at http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/bathymetry/relief.html.
Where can I find municipal boundary data?

CUGIR has a small collection of municipal boundary data, limited to Tompkins County. Try contacting the local planning department for the area you are interested in. The NYS GIS Clearinghouse also has some boundary data. Some data sets are available only to members of the data cooperative, so you may need to contact the data owner directly. Cornell community members can use the Contact CUGIR form to request assistance from Mann Library in obtaining this data.

See also the CUGIR FAQ on Minor Civil Divisions.

Where can I find town boundary data?

From CUGIR, you can download Minor Civil Divisions by county, which has town boundaries. There is also a statewide layer (1990 census) for county subdivisions, which is similar. You can download the statewide county subdivisions for 1990 and 2000 directly from the Census Bureau.

The NYS GIS Clearinghouse also has some boundary data. Some data sets are available only to members of the data cooperative, so you may need to contact the data owner directly. Cornell community members can use the Contact CUGIR form to request assistance from Mann Library in obtaining this data.

Where can I get Census data from before 1990?CUGIR does not hold Census data from prior to 1990 in its collection. Possible sources include the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), the Archive of Census Related Products (ACRP), or the Census http and ftp archive sites.
Why are there gaps or missing sections (along the NY border) in the data that I downloaded from CUGIR?Much of the data we receive for CUGIR comes from New York State agencies that are focused on New York State. In some cases the data files are missing areas that fall outside of or along the state borders. You may be able to find data covering these missing sections from neighboring states data repositories. A list of these can be found at geolode.org.
Why are there missing cells when I mosaic DEMs using ArcGIS 9.2?According to ESRI technical support the dropped cells in v.9.2 are the result of an incorrect value set for the Pixel Type parameter in the Mosaic to New Raster tool or in the Mosaic tool. The New York State GIS Help Desk Knowledge Base has a complete explanation of the problem, and how to solve it: http://www.gishost.com/gishelpdesk/search_ticket.asp?ticketnum=2719.
Why can't I view or open a file/map?

Most CUGIR data files require specialized software to view. These files are not actual "maps" but data that can be used to create maps. You will need to use one or more programs that can properly open these files. You may also need to carry out conversion procedures in order to import files which have been archived, compressed or otherwise packaged for portability. Please consult the File Formats and GIS Software Compatibility, Data Formats, and Compressed Data sections of CUGIR help for more information.

File names and directory paths can also cause problems when trying to open or load a data file. Some software will not open files that have spaces or special characters in the file name or any directory or sub-directory ("Documents and Settings" for example, is part of the directory path for files downloaded to the desktop of windows machines). Especially long file or directory names can also cause a problem with some software.

Why does a DEM file appear in ArcGIS as a gray box?

In order for ArcGIS to usefully display a DEM with different colors for different elevations, it must first calculate statistics for the DEM. Below are two different methods.

Method 1

Use ArcToolbox > "DEM to Raster" to convert the DEM.

Method 2

  1. Use the usual "Add Data" to load the DEM
  2. Right-click the layer and select "Properties..."
  3. Select the Symbology tab
  4. Under "Stretch" type, select "Standard Deviations"
  5. A prompt will appear: "Statistics do not exist. Do you want to compute statistics?" Click "Yes"
  6. Click "OK", and the DEM should now display as expected.
Why don't my data layers line up properly?Your problem may be related to incorrect projection information being assigned to one or more data layers. Please see the Data Projection section in our CUGIR Help.