Skip to Main Content

GIS Center: Data Types

Information and Resources Offered by the GIS Center at UC Merced.

Data Types

Spatial data contain geographic coordinates, such as longitudes and latitudes, allowing features to be drawn on a map.  Vector and raster data are examples of spatial data.

      Vector data are geometric shapes - points, lines, and polygons - drawn from stored coordinates.  Shapefiles are vector data.

      Raster data are grids of valued cells which display like pixels on a screen.  Satellite imagery are rasters.

Attribute Data are the information you want to communicate in your map, such as median household income or average annual rainfall, and are in tabular format.  Note:  If the data you want to map is not already available as a GIS layer, you can always create a CSV file of the data and join it to a boundary file