Table of Contents:

  1. What is the FGDL?
  2. FGDL Hard-drives - Contents, Costs, Ordering and Delivery
  3. FGDL Data - General Questions
  4. Contacting the FGDL Team

Section 1: What is the FGDL?

1.1 - What is the FGDL?

The Florida Geographic Data Library (FGDL) is a mechanism for distributing geospatial (GIS) data throughout the state of Florida. The FGDL is warehoused at and maintained by the University of Florida's GeoPlan Center, a GIS Research and Teaching Facility. FGDL was developed with support from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and is now maintained through support from the Florida Department of Transportation. There are typically 400+ layers of GIS data in the FGDL, including FDOR Tax Data and parcel boundaries, administrative boundaries, land use, transportation, hydrology, wetlands, public lands, parks, trails, wildlife, and more. New and updated data layers are continuously added to the FGDL as they become available.

1.2 - Why have the FGDL?

The main benefits of the FGDL are its contributions to the availability, clarity and uniformity of Florida's databases.

*AVAILABILITY: Data can be distributed at less cost and more efficiently between state agencies and to the public and private sectors. Data is available for download free of charge on our website.

*CLARITY: Data are organized for use by non-GIS persons so that individual users will no longer be required to understand the more technical aspects of GIS to be able to accomplish geographic information analyses.

*UNIFORMITY: Data are organized with a standard format, projection and documentation; many users will not have to do any additional data processing in order to begin analyses.

1.3 - How was the FGDL developed?

Various GeoPlan Center projects have included the development of databases that were subsequently added to the FGDL. These projects include the Cross Florida Greenway Project, The Statewide Greenways Planning Effort, The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the FDOT Environmental GIS Database Development Project, and the FDOT Efficient Transportation Decision Making Project..

The FGDL has been compiled from data and images collected from numerous state and federal governmental agencies, as well as some nonprofit organizations and private companies. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is the lead agency contributing to the development of FGDL. In the past, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has also contributed a great deal to the FGDL.

Section 2: FGDL Hard-drives

2.1 - How are the hard-drives delivered? Can I come pick them up myself?

We use Federal Express in all cases, next day service where available. In most cases the turnaround time is just 2-3 weeks. Some people (especially those on the University of Florida Campus) opt to pick it up here instead of having it delivered to them. If you want to come pick up your order, PLEASE follow these instructions:

(The following only applies to those who do not want their order Federal Expressed to them.)
Please fax your Order Form to (352) 392-3308, attention Nelda. Make sure you leave a phone number on your order form. Someone will call you when your order is filled. You make pick up your order between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Please take note that the University of Florida has very little visitor parking. Your order will be waiting for you in room 431 of the Architecture Building. Ask for Nelda Schneider. PLEASE bring with you an original signed Order Form, along with a check made out to the University of Florida. No cash or credit card payments can be accepted.

2.2 - How long does it take to get the hard-drive after ordering?

In most cases the turnaround time is 2 to 3 weeks AFTER we receive your order.

2.3 - Are there any discounts, say for non-profit organizations or schools?

No. We are a small research center. The price of ordering FGDL is mainly the cost of the hard-drive.

2.4 - On the Order Form, do I calculate the tax amount according to the county I live in, or the county the hard-drives will be delivered to?

It is not necessary to calculate tax. The cost of tax is already included in the cost of the hard-drive.

2.5 - Can I order a map of anything?

Sorry - we provide the data, not maps.

Section 3: FGDL Data - General Questions

3.1 - What projection is the FGDL data in?

All of the FGDL data is in the following projection:

Projection ALBERS
Datum HPGN
Spheroid GRS1980
1st Standard Parallel 24 0 0.000
2nd Standard Parallel 31 30 0.000
Central Meridian -84 0 0.000
Latitude of Projection's Origin 24 0 0.000
False Easting (meters) 400000.000
False Northing (meters) 0.000

3.2 - What is the Albers projection and why is the FGDL data in it?

We use the Albers projection because two of our main data contributors are FDEP and FDOT who both work in Albers, and because we distribute the data in one statewide projection. UTM and Stateplane projections have zones that make it impossible to "connect" the different pieces of the state. Geographic Latitude Longitude is not a projection but a coordinate system and does not adjust for correct area, shape, distance or other factors.

The Albers Conic Equal Area projection uses two standard parallels to reduce some of the distortion of a one standard parallel projection. Although neither shape nor linear scale are truly correct, the distortion of these properties is minimized in the region between the standard parallels. This projection is best suited for land masses extending in an east-to-west orientation rather than those lying north to south.

Most of this projection info can be gathered from the web. Look at the sites from USGS and NEMA (the defense mapping agency). The most commonly referenced author of projections and their formulae is John Snyder, who used to be with USGS.

See these sites:
Map Projection Overview, Peter H. Dana, The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Texas at Austin
Coordinate Systems Overview, Peter H. Dana, The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Texas at Austin
Geodetic Datum Overview, Peter H. Dana, The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Texas at Austin

There is a coordinate calculator on the market from Blue Marble called the Geographic Calculator. There may also be some other ones out there. Albers is a common projection so most calculators should have it, and the ability to enter the user defined parmaters (parallels, false-eastings, etc). Most of these calculators are for Unix and NT alike. The NT ones usually come in a Visual Basic (VB) type of interface that one could probably call from another VB app. The Unix or Linux ones are either command line or a TCL or Java interface that can also be called from other apps.

3.3 - How can I get more information about a particular FGDL dataset?

First, read the FGDC metadata, which is included with every FGDL Data layer. Next, you can contact the source of the dataset, which is identified in that dataset's metadata.

3.4 - Is there a standard for GIS data?

There is no real standard in the GIS industry at the moment. Just like the rest of the computer and tech industry most of the formats for data transfer and storage are proprietary. There is a group called the OpenGIS Consortium (http://www.opengis.org/) that is looking at ways to standardize GIS data.

3.5 - What software is needed to open, use, and overlay FGDL datasets?

FGDL Data is meant for use with GIS software. There are numerous GIS software packages available, both open source and proprietary. Look for a software package that is capable of displaying ESRI shapefile format, which is the primary format FGDL data is distributed in.

There is a free GIS viewer made by ESRI called ArcExplorer. Here is a list of both open source and proprietary GIS software from GIS Lounge: http://gislounge.com/gis-software-applications/

Section 4: Contacting the FGDL Team

4.1 - How do I contact someone concerning FGDL Data?

For questions about FGDL data, please email.... data AT fgdl.org