A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a collection of hardware, software and geographic data that is used to manage, display and analyze spatial data. Spatial data is essentially data that can be mapped such as the location of streams, manhole covers or areas of preserved land. Multiple layers of spatial data can be added to the GIS software for the creation of maps and models. The spatial data can also be used to perform geographic queries and analysis that can help entities make better decisions and create better solutions. For example, adding the spatial data layers for the location of steep slopes and roads over top of the existing land use layer may help a municipality determine the best areas for high density and low density growth.
The Berks County Planning Commission (BCPC) uses GIS for a wide variety of projects related to comprehensive plans, storm water, zoning, transportation, ordinance reviews and master plans (just to name a few). This data is maintained on a regular basis allowing the BCPC to make accurate decisions based on current conditions.
Berks County has adopted a policy and procedure regarding how individuals and agencies can request GIS Data. Please click on the link below for instructions.
Request Berks County GIS Data
Below is a list of links that will guide you to other agencies that have FREE GIS data downloads unless otherwise noted. If you do not have GIS software installed on your computer, visit ESRI's website to download the FREE ArcGIS Explorer Desktop.
1. Aerial Imagery for Pennsylvania- Direct Link to FTP download site for different formats of aerial imagery that can be used in GIS.
2.Geology- Includes GIS datasets for Bedrock geologic units as well as symbology styles for Pennsylvania. Created by DCNR.
3.FEMA Floodplain Data- This link will take you to FEMA's GIS NFHL Database. You will need to select the State and County from the dropdown box on this page. The FEMA floodplain data for Berks County was updated on July 3, 2012. The data download is now FREE.
4. LiDAR Data for Pennsylvania- Direct Link to FTP download site.
5.Other GIS Data for Berks County- PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access) is an outreach program designed by Penn State University that serves as a clearinghouse for spatial data in Pennsylvania as well as interactive web maps. The GIS data downloads include data from various data sources including government agencies and non-profits.
6.Soils- Provides soil data, maps and links to online soil GIS data.
7.PennDOT Open Data- Roadways, bridges, railways, and PennDOT projects available in a variety of GIS formats.
The Berks County Planning Commission Maps page contains a variety of maps created by the Berks County Planning Commission.
Berks County Parcel Viewer- Interactive web map of Berks County’s tax parcel data.
Free GIS Viewer- Visit ESRI's website to download ArcGIS Explorer Desktop if you do not have GIS installed on your computer.
NRCS Web Soil Viewer- Interactive web maps of soils in the United States.
Penn Pilot- Interactive web map of current and historical aerial imagery.
U.S. Census Bureau American Fact Finder- Create and print maps using Census data for any location in the United States.