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Michigan State University

Library Databases that provide Shapefiles or georeferenced files: LandScan Population

Some datasets purchased by MSU Libraries have GIS-ready functionality. This guide links to several resources with the ability to export data or images to Shapefile, GeoTIFF or GeoPDF formats.

LandScan Global

Landscan is a world population dataset at approximately 1 km resolution (30" X 30"). It represents an ambient population (average over 24 hours). The LandScan algorithm uses spatial data and imagery analysis technologies and a multi-variable dasymetric modeling approach to disaggregate census counts within an administrative boundary. Since no single population distribution model can account for the differences in spatial data availability, quality, scale, and accuracy as well as the differences in cultural settlement practices, LandScan population distribution models are tailored to match the data conditions and geographical nature of each individual country and region. This web interface is best used in Firefox.

Three methods of access:

  1. Through ArcGIS 9.3 or higher:
  • LandScan WMS Link

URL Scheme:<year>/dataset/mapserver/wmsserver?

  • LandScan WCS Link

URL Scheme:<year>/dataset/mapserver/wcsserver?

  1. FTP download the full 600MB zipped file (Contact the Map Librarian)
  2. WebApp LandScan Global Access


To access population data, click "search" to select either a political unit or to draw a polygon on the map. A pop up window will provide population with gender and age breakdown. (remember to use Firefox).

Example 1: A pre-defined administrative unit:

screen shot from Landscan global -admin


Example 2: A free-form drawn polygon

Screen shot from Landscan Global

GIS Team