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National Weather Service GIS Data Portal

Many of the National Weather Service data sets are available in formats that are able to be imported directly into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Data formats include downloadable shapefiles, web services, KML files and geo referenced images.

As more data is made available in these formats, links to the data will be added to these pages. Click one of the GIS format links below in to start exploring the NWS GIS data currently available! Questions?

Web Services

This page contains links to data that are distributed via web server technology in the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).  In addition, some of the NWS data is available as geo-referenced image files such as geo-gifs.


Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is used by a variety of GIS and mapping applications and the specifications are freely available to the public and available to the user community without charge or restriction. KML is an XML-based language for managing the display of three-dimensional geospatial data in the programs Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Mobile, ArcGIS Explorer, WorldWind and other GIS viewers . The word Keyhole is an earlier name for the software that became Google Earth; the software was produced in turn by Keyhole, Inc, which was acquired by Google in 2004. (more about KML)


Shapefiles are a geospatial vector data format for geographic information systems software. Shapefiles spatially describe points, lines and polygons.  A "Shapefile" commonly refers to a collection of files with ".shp", ".shx", ".dbf", and other extensions on a common prefix name (i.e., "lakes.shp"). SHP files can be viewed in GIS viewers as well as more sophisticated GIS applications. (more about Shapefiles)

National Weather Service Base maps are available in Shapefiles. The AWIPS map database catalog contains background map data in Shapefile format that are used by the National Weather Service (NWS) for use by the user community. These data consist of a variety of official NWS forecast zones and county designations used by be NWS. In addition other data that might be of interest and that are used by the (NWS) Advanced Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS) are available through the catalog.

NWS Alerts as CAP

NWS provides access to watches, warnings, advisories, and other similar products in the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and Atom Syndication Format (ATOM)..


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     Page last Modified: 15 February, 2012 10:48 AM