An abundant amount of GIS data (in the form of shapefiles and/or .e00 files) is available via the web for free. Below are some useful websites where one can download GIS data. Please note that all links will open in the same external window.

GeoCommons
Enables everyone to find, use and share geographic data and maps. Data ranges from local to international.

MINNESOTA & THE TWIN CITIES

MnGEO's Clearinghouse for GIS Data

MetroGIS DataFinder (local Twin Cities data)

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Data Deli

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT)

Minnesota Legislative Geographic Information Services

NATIONAL DATASETS

GIS Data Depot (must create username/password to download)

National Atlas

TIGER/Line Files - 2000 (can be used for geocoding)

TIGER/Line Files - 2009
Can be used for geocoding. Choose your state, then county, then click "submit". Select "All lines" and download. Please note: The lines include ALL feature types that can be represented by a line (railroads, roads, paths, etc.). To select just the roads, look in the metadata at the MTFCC code and then "select by attribute".

US Census Cartographic Boundary Files (US Census 1990 and 2000)

USGS National Map Viewer

INTERNATIONAL DATASETS

GIS Data Depot (must create username/password to download)

USGS Global GIS Databases

Additional sources of data can be found on the GlobalMapper website.

FINDING LATITUDE/LONGITUDE

Find latitude/longitude with Google Maps (find with addesses or on the map itself)

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) (US and foreign locations)

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) GEOnet Names Server (GNS) (foreign locations)

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online